The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a bill, 68 to 29, that includes sexual orientation as a protected class in federal hate crimes laws. Most Republicans voted against it. The House approved the legislation prior, and it now goes to President Obama for his signature.
Here’s the catch: the Democratic leadership attached the measure to a $680 billion defense appropriation bill, which includes additional funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, essentially, Reid and his cohorts dared conservative lawmakers to vote against the defense funding by including the hate-crimes bunk.
Granted, such tactics are nothing new. Republicans used them, too, when they held the reins of power. It shouldn’t matter. Any bill, but particularly one dealing with constitutional implications as this one does, should be debated and voted on independent of other legislation, particularly major appropriations. To combine two separate issues is a time-tested political ploy practiced by both sides – but it’s no less despicable.
That should be the headline in MSM papers this morning, or at least a significant part of the story. A pipe dream, I know.
As a side note, watch for this hate-crimes legislation to be one of the few bones that Obama throws to the homosexual activist crowd in the near term. He’s sat on rescinding the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Ditto on repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which has enjoyed bi-partisan support for years and was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. Signing the hate crimes bill will be a good way for Obama to shore up his extreme leftist base on this issue without costing too much political capital or diverting his attention from remaking the U.S. economy.