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Hate Crimes Bill Dropped

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Hate Crimes Bill Dropped

by Paul Johnson, 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

May 7, 2006 - 4:00 pm ET

(Washington) Legislation that would have included crimes against gays and lesbians in federal hate crime laws has been dropped in the Senate.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) has been trying to get the measure passed since 1999. This session he tacked it onto a national sex offender bill.

The sex offender registry bill has been tied up in the Senate for months as Kennedy fought to have the hate crime provision passed.

Late last week he pulled the amendment allowing the sex offender bill to pass unanimously after Republicans threatened to block passage of the sex offender legislation pin the blame on "liberal Democrats" and gay activists.

Kennedy vowed to once again introduce the legislation in the next session.

"Congress can't ignore the problem," he said. "They send the poisonous message that some Americans deserve to be victimized solely because of who they are."

A House version of the hate crime bill passed the House earlier this year, as an amendment to the Children's Safety and Violent Crimes Reduction Act. The hate crime provision, which would have included gays, lesbians and the transgendered was later stripped out of the bill.

The bill would have allowed the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting cases in which violence occurs.

Extending hate crimes law to include members of the LGBT community is endorsed by more than 175 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: the National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

©365Gay.com 2006

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