Lummis: Troops used as bargaining chips in Hate Crime debate
by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis media release
October 9, 2009
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., released the following statement as the U.S. House prepares to vote on the annual defense authorization bill which includes an unrelated and controversial "hate crimes" amendment:
"Our soldiers should be given every resource they need as they fight valiantly to keep us safe. Unfortunately, supporters of hate crime legislation are using this traditionally bipartisan bill to fund our troops in a shameful game to curry favor with special interest groups. The men and women of the armed services should not be used as political bargaining chips in this debate.
"Each state already has the right to enact hate crime legislation if it chooses to do so. The decision of whether a new hate crime law is appropriate for Wyoming should be made by Wyoming’s governor, legislature and citizens. This amendment usurps states’ rights – any state or local crime could be federalized if the possibility exists that the crime was motivated by hate.
"I do not believe a new federal hate crime law is necessary for violent crimes that are already illegal and impose stiff criminal penalties. All violent crimes are hateful and should be condemned. Like any other crime, despicable crimes motivated by hate or intolerance should be investigated, prosecuted and punished accordingly."