Sunday, March 08, 2009

Blade Corrects Dallas Voice on Hate Crime
Law in Polis Gaffe Story

I've been informed by veteran gay journalist Lou Chibarro of the Washington Blade that I have shared an incorrect account and understanding of a recent national effort over hate crimes and US Congress, related to incorrect comments made by openly gay Democrat congressmember Jared Polis in Texas.

As you can see below, Lou is questioning John Wright's account of what transpired back in 2007 over the latest attempt to get gays included in federal hate crime statutes and he's sent me an article he wrote, which I've excerpted below.

First, here's his note:

Hi Michael,

Your blog report about the Rep. Jared Polis's misstatement about Congress passing the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill was most interesting and appears to be the first site to break this news.

But the quote you included from a column written by John Wright of the Dallas Voice is misleading if not totally incorrect.

The House (and Senate) did not drop the Shepard hate crimes bill as an amendment to a military authorization measure because President Bush threatened to veto it, as John Wright claims in his column.

The House refused to include it in the DOD bill, and pressured the Senate to drop it, because a group of liberal, anti-war Democrats in the House threatened to vote against it if it was part of the DOD bill. The liberal Democrats said they could not vote for any DOD bill, even one with the Shepard bill attached, because it provided support for the Iraq War.

I've copied a Blade story (see below) from December 2007 that covers all of this in detail.

All the best,
Lou Chibbaro

I bear responsibility in passing along part of what Wright wrote, which was wrong, and appreciate Lou correcting the problems in Wright's explanation.

Here's the excerpted beginning of Lou's original article:

House nixes hate crimes
Frank faults strategy, calls for freestanding bill in 2008

Dec. 07, 2007

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) Thursday morning acquiesced to demands by House Democratic leaders to drop a gay and transgender inclusive hate crimes bill from the National Defense Authorization Act, a knowledgeable Capitol Hill source said.

The decision kills the hate crimes bill for this year, but House Democrats, led by gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), are calling on the Senate to pass a freestanding hate crimes bill as early as February.

Senate Democrats had hoped to pass the Department of Defense authorization bill with the hate crimes measure intact, saying it was the best strategy for discouraging President Bush from vetoing the hate crimes measure, which Bush opposes.

House Democratic leaders, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), supported the Senate strategy, but a bloc of about 30 liberal Democratic House members threatened to join Republicans in voting against the combined DOD-hate crimes bill, saying they could not support legislation advancing the president’s Iraq war policies.

Republicans support the DOD bill but more than 100 GOP House members said they wouldn’t vote for it as long as it was linked to the hate crimes bill, which they opposed.

Frank broke publicly this week with many of the nation’s gay advocacy groups by questioning their request that House members back continued funding for the Iraq war in order to support the hate crimes bill. ...


Anonymous said...

This is really splitting hairs, and quite irrelevant to the broader issue. But if you read my blog post closely, you will see that I said the Act was removed from the bill AFTER the president threatened to veto it, not BECAUSE the president threatened to veto it. So Lou is technically wrong in saying that I was wrong. Again, though, we're splitting hairs here.

John Wright

Anonymous said...

Lou is WRONG. I said the Act was removed from the bill AFTER the president threatened to veto it, not BECAUSE the president threatened to veto it.
If you're going to try to muddy the water about what Polis said, at least use a legitimate correction to do it!

John Wright
Dallas Voice