Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is The Matthew Shepard Act Doomed?

A hate crime is the gift that keeps on giving.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe White House today announced that it is the President's intention to veto the Matthew Shepard Act, a bill providing for the gay and transgendered victims of hate crimes. Anyone surprised by such an action clearly isn't from this planet, and should be rounded up by NASA and studied.

"The qualifications [in the bill] are so broad that virtually any crime involving a homosexual individual has potential to have hate crimes elements," said White House press secretary Tony Fratto, according to The Washington Times.

Yeah? So fucking what?

The President has never yet had a veto overridden, which is the last chance the Matthew Shepard Act has of passing.

Not that mere passage of a law means anything. Canada has an excellent hate crimes law, which in instances of crimes against queers has yet to really be tested, since police and the courts routinely refuse to enforce it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe 2001 murder of Aaron Webster in Vancouver is just one example of the bigotry of Canadian justice. Not only did it take the Vancouver Police Department more than 18 months to make an arrest and, even though what had happened was clearly a hate crime, it wasn't prosecuted as one because the VPD refused to implement the correct charges. On the stand one of the presiding judges, Valmond Romilly, also refused to take the crime seriously.

One of Webster's four assailants got as much as 6 whole years in prison for committing cold-blooded murder, while for murdering Webster's dog he might have gotten eight.
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2 comments:

Seumas Gagne said...

It's not doomed. Congressional Democrats will simply not pass it until Bush is out of office. That way he'll never get the chance to veto it.

The Aaron Webster case is so infuriating. There are times when I feel like the Canadian more-British-than-other-north-american-countries-ness is unnerving. There have been multiple times when I've seen authoritative institutions in Canada simply decide to ignore the law and do what they want. Is it because the electorate ultimately doesn't have enough power to stop them?

Does political theory fall under Pop Culture?

michael sean morris said...

Just about anything these days is Pop Culture, even politics and PoliSci.

Yes, the civil service in Canada is far too strong. At least in the US there are checks and balances. Here, if some lowly clerk doesn't want to do their job they just don't.