Log Cabin Republicans Criticize Democratic Leadership for Derailing Hate Crimes Legislation

December 7, 2007 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – Log Cabin Republicans condemn the decision by Democratic leaders in Congress to remove a hate crimes law, known as the Matthew Shepard Act, from the Department of Defense Authorization Bill.

"This is a very disappointing development," said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon. "After strong bi-partisan votes in the House and Senate earlier this year, it is unfortunate that Democratic leaders dropped the hate crimes provision from the final Defense Authorization Bill. Democratic leadership should take responsibility for what happened."

"This once again shows the fight for freedom and fairness requires the LGBT movement to engage lawmakers on both sides of the aisle," said Sammon. "Too many people thought Democratic control of Congress would be a magic bullet for the gay rights movement. This episode should be a wake-up call."

"Contrary to their rhetoric, Democrats have yet to demonstrate that gay rights issues are an important part of their agenda. How many gay rights measures have reached the President's desk? The answer is zero."

Democratic leadership dropped the provision because some in their party wouldn't vote for the Defense Authorization Bill. "It's unfortunate that dozens of Democrats in Congress won't admit that things are going better in Iraq. It's a shame that so many Democrats are more anti-war than pro-gay," said Sammon.

The hate crimes provision also was left out of the conference report because some Democrats didn't want to risk a presidential veto. Plus some Republicans and Democrats refused to back the Defense Authorization Bill if it included the hate crimes provision.

"Those members of Congress who are unwilling to vote for a defense authorization bill that contains basic protection for gay and lesbian Americans should be ashamed. They're letting anti-gay views hold the Defense Authorization Bill hostage. These Republicans and Democrats should recognize that the vast majority of Americans support basic protections for LGBT Americans," concluded Sammon.