It is disappointing to read US Rep. Roy Blunt’s comments critical of proposed federal legislation that would grant greater protections for gay victims of violence. The bill (HR 1913, co-sponsored by Reps. Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan) expands existing federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; and authorizes assistance to local enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute such crimes.
The proposed law makes it explicit that it should not be interpreted to restrict people’s freedom of speech, which should — but does not — allay the concerns of its opponents.
It is no secret that Congressman Blunt is planning to run for the US Senate in 2010. Such a campaign would move him to a stage much larger than his current congressional district. It is important that he understands a little more about the issues and concerns of the highly diverse group of constituents he hopes to represent.