why do we need hate crime laws

Hate crime laws, making it a crime to attack or threaten someone because of his or her color, religion, or national origin. In the '90s, hate crime laws were expanded to cover disability and sexual orientation. In 2009, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, further expanding the federal definition of hate crimes and increasing the ability of federal law enforcement to support state and local officers.


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Supporters of these laws say hate crimes are akin to terrorism, in that they are designed to threaten entire communities and groups. Hate crimes also statistically involve more violence. And many say our laws should reflect that violence rooted in bigotry has no place in our society, and will be punished accordingly.


Bill Dobbs, activist Racism and homophobia cannot be solved by longer prison sentences. Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights We cannot outlaw hate, but laws shape attitudes. Tish Durkin, columnist Don t codify the idea that certain kinds of human life have greater value than other kinds.


James B. Jacobs, law professor Once intended to fight hard-core hate mongers, bias crimes now affect mostly mixed-up teenagers. Chris Anders, American Civil Liberties Union Laws must punish the crime, not objectionable beliefs. Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda Legal Hate should be recognized and opposed in all its forms.

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