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New poll shows 68 percent support hate crimes bill
Supporters include majority of Republicans, conservatives and religious voters

by Brad Luna

Wheels of justice in motion: the
majority of Americans want to see H.R. 1592 made into law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new national poll conducted by Gallup shows overwhelming support from the American people for passage of federal hate crimes legislation currently being considered in Congress. The poll, conducted May 10-13, shows that 68 percent of all Americans believe that current federal hate crime laws should be expanded to include “sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.” Even more impressive is that this support cuts across partisan, ideological and religious lines with a majority of each of those demographic groups supporting the legislation.

“This new national poll continues to reiterate how incredibly out of touch right-wing organizations are with the will of the American people and underscores the need for the Senate to pass this bill,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “I hope President Bush will look at this poll and realize how unbelievably out of line a threatened veto of this critical crime fighting piece of legislation is with a majority of Americans. President Bush’s threatened veto isn’t even supported by his base.The writing is on the wall and it is past time for President Bush to stop bowing to the pressure of James Dobson, Pat Robertson and other right-wing, anti-gay leaders and join the majority of Americans who want to see this bill become law.”

On May 3, the morning of the House vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592), the White House put out a “Statement of Administration Policy” stating, “If H.R. 1592 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

When broken down by self-identified demographic subgroups the poll finds the following majorities support passage of federal hate crimes legislation before Congress:
• 60 percent of Republicans
• 69 percent of Independents
• 75 percent of Democrats
• 57 percent of Conservatives
• 64 percent of Independents
• 82 percent of Liberals
• 65 percent of Protestants (and other non-Catholics)
• 72 percent of Catholics
• 74 percent of other religion
• 74 percent of those with no religious identity
• 64 percent of those who attend church regularly
• 67 percent of those who attend church almost every week/monthly
• 73 percent of those who attend church seldom/never
In fact, Gallup reports that “no group identifiable in Gallup’s standard categories used for subgroup analysis expresses less than majority support for the type of action passed by the U.S. House in H.R. 1592.”

The Local Law Hate Crimes Prevention Act was approved by a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180. The bill’s identical counterpart, the Matthew Shepard Act, is now before the U.S. Senate where a vote is expected to happen in the near future.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the Matthew Shepard Act would update the current federal hate crimes law to include all Americans and would provide local law enforcement officials with federal resources to help investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
In addition to enjoying the overwhelming support of the American people, the hate crimes bill also has the support of over 230 law enforcement organizations, civil rights groups, civic and religious organizations, and many prominent political figures including President Bush’s Attorney General Dick Thornburgh; 26 state attorneys general; National Sheriffs’ Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; U.S. Conference of Mayors; Presbyterian Church; Episcopal Church; and the Parent’s Network on Disabilities.

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