Senate passes hate crimes bill

The US Senate last night voted to stop a filibuster of the hate crimes bill, with five Republicans supporting the effort to stop the filibuster, and then passed the legislation by voice vote. The hate crimes bill – an amendment to America’s already-existing hate crimes law, that’s been on the books for decades – adds gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the existing law.

[T]he bill provides federal grants to help state and local officials with the costs of prosecuting hate crimes and funds programs to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles. The federal government can step in after the Justice Department certifies that a state does not have jurisdiction or is unable to carry out justice.

The House already passed the hate crimes bill in April as a free-standing bill. This means that the Senate bill will go to conference, and could be dropped there, though Joe and I think it’s unlikely, as the bill did pass the House anyway, and the Congress is more sensitive to gay issues since the brouhaha over the anti-gay DOMA brief.

Here’s how the Senators voted. A yes vote is a vote to stop the filibuster (i.e., a good vote).


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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