"Hate crime" laws pose a danger to civil liberties in three ways:
- They pave the way for suppression of the freedoms of speech, association and religion.
- They violate the concept of equal protection under the law.
- They introduce the un-American concept of "thought crime," in which someone's actions are "more" illegal based on their thoughts or beliefs.
A grandmother walking down the street should have at least as much protection under the law as someone who is leaving a "gay" bar. But under "hate crimes" laws that include "sexual orientation," the same assault would be punished with greater penalties if the victim were perceived as homosexual.
Per capita, the most vulnerable class of crime victims is young, black men who are assaulted and murdered by other young, black men.1 But "hate crimes" laws divide people into racial and other categories. The drive for "hate crime" laws diverts attention from the unfolding tragedy in our nation's cities.
There is no evidence that victims of "hate crimes" are receiving any less protection than victims of other crimes. To suggest otherwise insults the men and women of the nation's law enforcement community.