A cousin of mine sent me an invitation to sign a Facebook petition. This cousin knows I'm gay, comes from a conservative military family (that also knows I'm gay), and is preparing to serve an LDS mission. What do you think, bloggers, did I handle this well?
My Facebook account informs me you have requested I sign the "Petition to US Congress and President Obama."
Item 5 of the petition states:
"I am against the Hate Crimes Bill (Pedophile Protection Act) that would make it a federal hate crime to defend a child against a pedophile."
This is simply not the case. The legislation, known as the Matthew Shepard Act, amends the existing federal Hate-Crime Law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
The bill would also:
- remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school;
- give federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
- provide $10 million in funding to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
Nowhere in the bill are provisions made regarding pedophilia. The author of the petition has made the bigoted assumption that all non-heterosexuals are pedophiles and that assumption couldn't be further from the truth. Nor does it have anything to do with this bill.
This bill's detractors usually claim it will suppress free speech by making it illegal to speak or preach against homosexuality. This too is a flawed notion. Quoting from the bill itself, "Nothing in this Act...shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution."
I believe you have been deceived by the wording of this petition and been led to sign it thinking it was protecting something it doesn't. Political rhetoric can be difficult to sort through and I'm not bothered you fell victim to its lies. I would appreciate, however, if you removed your name from it.
You can read more about the bill here
You can read more about Matthew Shepard here