Karen Ocamb

FYI: Obama supports hate crime legislation and McCain doesn't

Filed By Karen Ocamb | August 18, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, hate crimes legislation, LGBT politics

If this is what you call turning up the heat in the presidential race - I'm still simmering.

Today's conference call held by the Obama Campaign on the need for federal hate crimes legislation turned up no new information and left some of us a bit befuddled if not frustrated after the key presenters commented then disappeared.

Matt Nosanchuk of the Obama for America National LGBT Steering and Policy Committee, convened the call.

Matt opened with:

The issue of hate crimes is an incredibly important one. Recent statistics that came out from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs shows that, with respect to hate crimes against LGBT Americans, there's been a 24% increase over 2006 and ironically, the biggest increase was in Michigan - a 207% increase. Michigan, of course, is where the Chairman [that's Congressmember John C. Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee] is from. So this is a very important issue to the LGBT community - to have sexual orientation and gender identity included in the federal hate crimes bill.

OK. But here's the thing: the media advisory from Obama Campaign advertising the conference call said:

Chicago, IL - Earlier this month, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released a report highlighting the rash of over a dozen brutal and violent hate crimes against people either identifying as or perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender that occurred in June and July 2008.

The statistics Matt quoted were from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report released May 20 showing "a 24% increase in total number of victims reporting incidents of antigay LGBT violence from 1,954 to 2,430."

This is August 18. Most of us reported on the NCAVP stats when they came out. So we tried for some other info.

Damien Skipper, whose 25 year gay old brother Ryan was brutally murdered in 2007, talked about how the local sheriff made homophobic comments and tried to blame Ryan for his own murder. So I tried to follow up on that since something similar is happening here Southern California in the case surrounding the murder of 15 year old Larry King.

I wanted to ask Conyers if he would hold new hearings on the federal hate crimes legislation in 2009 - considering the new context of sexual orientation as an officially protected suspect class - i.e., as a "real" minority - as recognized by the California Supreme Court - where the whole "blame the victim" mentality and ex-gay crap can be publicly flushed out. But Conyers had left the call and his deputy didn't understand the question.

The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld finally asked why they were holding the conference call now. Bottom line, Matt said, was to highlight the differences between Obama's record on hate crimes and that of his GOP opponent John McCain - just so we know McCain does NOT favor hate crimes legislation for LGBt folks, while a President Obama would sign such legislation into law.

OK. But I think we've reported that before, too.

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Okay, now I have to admit that I'm glad I didn't join the call. Once I realized that you were on the call and I had to do something else, it seemed like mana from heaven. Now that I've seen your report, it must have been a miracle I didn't waste my time.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 19, 2008 8:38 AM

Obama’s hacks called a press conference because he screwed up again. At last Sunday’s christer-bigot love fest with McCain in deepest, palest Orange County Obama slipped up and told the truth, again confirming his utter contempt for the GLBT communities.

He told the jesus jumpers that their superstition-fueled hatred for us, in the form of opposition to same sex marriage, is not bigotry. Because he shares the same feelings about us.

The angry reaction in the GLBT communities frightened Obama’s shills who hoped that rehashing soon to be broken promises would be an effective TACTIC to appease naive LGBT voters. They're afraid of the dawning realization that his decision to attend the OC bigotfest, his constant repetition of his bigoted attitude towards same sex marriage and the string of revival meetings led by ex gay preacher/ total piglet Donnie McClurkin are all part of Obama’s STRATEGY of pandering to bigot voters.

He needs bigot votes to counter the growing effects of Republican swiftboating and racism and the one hand and the growing disgust with his cynical opportunism on the other. Luckily for him he’s pretty damn good at pandering: according to the Barma Group, a christer polling organization he leads McCain 43% to 34%, reversing a decade of Republican domination in that sector.

If bigots elect Obama they’ll own him. Ask George Bush. Ask Bill Clinton. Just don’t ask any of them to do us any favors.

Far more important than electing cynical hustlers and doctrinaire christers like Obama or McCain are our own efforts to build indendent, massive GLBT groups to campaign for full equality and to lend our efforts to building the antiwar movement free of partisan spoilers. Whoever wins in November will view our struggles from the point of view of expediency and hostility. We have to be strong enough to compel them to accept our equality.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 19, 2008 9:18 AM

Our disappointments aside it was a pretty busy day with a small country the Russians have invaded. They are being killed, raped, burned out, etc. and those persons who commented (then disappeared) could have been searching for information on this present crisis. I hope so because I do want to believe in the truthfulness of change until it becomes impossible to do so.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 19, 2008 10:21 AM

It's always a serious mistake in judgment to believe press releases from the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA. They lie incessantly. People who believe them end up as apologists for US aggression in places like Vietnam, Iraq, and the more than a dozen other nations brutally and illegally attacked by US under Democrats and Republicans.

Stupidly, the Georgians attacked first, urged on by Bush. They’re a US client state, now a badly mauled client state whose citizens will pay a heavy price for the rashness of their leaders and the arrogant intrusion of the Bush administration.

Here are some alternative accounts to counter the lies of the Bush administration about events in the Caucasus:





Thank you for your comments.

There are HUGE, complex difficulties in the world right now - and I do see this as one of the most important elections in my lifetime (I was not old enough to vote when Barry Goldwater threatened to drop the atomic bomb on Vietnam when running against Lyndon Johnson).

The stakes are incredibly high for the LGBT community, in particular -one need look no further than Obama and McCain's answers to Rick Warren's question about who they would NOT have selected to the US Supreme Court. BTW - too little press coverage of the profound contradiction in McCain's answer to when does life begin - he said at conception - and his support for stem cell research.

Anyway - understanding the stakes in this election does not mean we have to forfeit our right to question how the two campaigns operate.

Andrew Yu-Jen Wang | December 14, 2008 7:17 PM

George W. Bush had better stop committing hate crimes.

Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993