House Bill HR 1913: Protecting Pedophiles?

May 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment

There has been a bit of a stir around the House of Representatives recently passing HR 1913, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. This bill updates older legislation that makes some hate crime federal offenses, taking them from the hands of local law enforcement. The new bill is meant to expand the definition of groups that could be targeted for hate crimes to include issues of gender and gender identity.

In an official White House press release, President Obama said, “I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance – legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association.”

However, on the other side of the isle, some republicans are fighting the legislation saying that the wording of the new bill could protect sex offenders, under the logic that sexual orientation and gender identity could include those who are attracted to children, are voyeurs, flashers, etc. Some have suggested that if a man exposes himself to a woman and she slaps him back, the man would be charged with a misdemeanor and the woman could be charged with a federal felony offense.

Will this legislation be used to protect those targeted by hate crimes because of their sexual preference and identity, or could it be taken too far by government prosecutors? Leave a comment.

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