Letter to me from Rep. James R. Moran (D-Va-8th Dist) on Hate Crimes and GLBT Victims


September 16, 2005


Dear Mr. Boushka


Knowing of your interest in civil rights issues, I thought you would like to receive an update on a historic moment regarding the effort to prosecute hate crimes.


On September 14, 2005, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Children’s Safety Act (H. R. 3132) that extends the existing federal hate crimes statute to cover gender, disability, and real or perceived sexual orientation. Offered by Representative John Conyers, the amendment also authorizes the Department of Justice to award grants to state and local programs designed to combat hate crimes and assist law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting and preventing hate crimes. I strongly support the amendment, and voted in favor of the successful passage of H.R. 3132.  I am optimistic the Senate will act favorably when it considers this legislation.


Based on FBI statistics, we know that biased crimes due to a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation consistently rank in the top three of all reported hate crimes. Clearly, not having this category of crimes qualify under Hate Crimes laws was an omission based on ignorance rather than reason. I am glad that enough Republicans understood this issue and chose to join the Democrats in protecting Americans from hate crimes.


On a related note, I am proud to have received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.for the 108% Congress, voting for all eight measures considered vital to the goals of the organization. I believe that America has the moral duty to advance fundamental equality within our own nation. This week’s accomplishment was a step in that pursuit, but we still have far to go.


I invite you to visit my website at http://www.moran.house.gov that contains information on topics of interest and how to sign up for the Moran e-News which offers updates on important issues. 


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