Lucas Opposes Bill That Threatens First Amendment Rights, Creates Injustice under the Law

Apr 30, 2009

Washington, DCThis week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1913 the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.  The legislation would expand the current definition of “hate crime” to include any violent crime based on the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, making it a federal crime and removing jurisdiction from state and local authorities.  Congressman Lucas voted against the bill.

“Every violent crime is unacceptable, no matter the motive,” stated Lucas.  “By passing this ‘hate crimes’ legislation, the House of Representatives said today that the basis of our judicial system- equal justice under the law- no longer applies. 

In addition to being vague and duplicative, the legislation will most likely serve little purpose because motivation of violent crimes is usually unknown.  For example, in 2007, of the approximately 17,000 homicides, only nine were determined to be motivated by bias.  The bill also raises the possibility that religions leaders or members of religious groups could be subject to a federal criminal investigation.

“This law threatens our First Amendment right of free speech and opens our religious leaders up to federal prosecution based on their speech or activities,” stated Lucas.  “This is just one more example of Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team forcing their liberal agenda on to the American people.”

The bill passed the House on April 29, 2009 by a party-line vote of 249-175.  It will now be considered by the Senate.  A companion measure was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

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