We’ll get to hate momentarily, but first a word about its consort–marriage. I’m glad to see that California’s Supreme Court is not above a bit of economic pump-priming to help bail out the Golden State in its hour of bankruptcy. The court’s decision on May 26 to uphold the voters’ ban last year on same-sex marriage will ensure that a torrent of money pours into California as the nonprofits and political action committees on both sides prime their bank balances for the next state initiative. Long-term, it’s a shot in the arm for the tourist industry, too. Half a century down the road, long lines will be forming in the Castro for visitors to gawk through the window of some antique store at the wizened last same-sex couple legally married before the ban kicked in.
Of course, it also means month after unendurable month of gays whining on TV about the horrors of not being able to “marry.” Ban all marriage, I say! If it’s a property issue, then write out a contract. There are plenty of simple legal instruments available.
The victims’ lobby rules. Assuming child-abusers manage to avoid “civil commitment” (continued incarceration past the stipulated prison sentence), Megan’s Law ensures that they will go on paying for their crimes till the day they die. If Megan’s Law, why not “Madoff’s Law”? Put every person convicted of financial fraud on a computerized list, available for public inspection. Saddle them with endless prohibitions, like no living within thirty miles of a bank or an ATM.
We’ve got the Matthew Shepard Act before Congress and far advanced on its journey into the statute book. This isn’t about equality. It’s a ham-handed attempt to right injustice by establishing different legal treatment for some classes of crime victims. America is well on its way to making it illegal to say anything nasty about gays, Jews, blacks and women. “Hate speech,” far short of any direct incitement to violence, is on the edge of being criminalized, with the First Amendment gone the way of the dodo. At the end of April the House of Representatives approved and sent on to the Senate a bill formally known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, backed by Obama’s White House. It classifies as “hate crimes” attacks based on a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Now, there already is a 1960s federal statute on the books proscribing hate crimes based on race, color, religion or ethnic origin, but prosecutors could invoke this law only if the victim was engaged in a “federally protected activity” like going to school or praying in church. No more, if the Senate agrees with the House. Suppose two fellows in a bar see a man come in and, later in the evening, beat him up. He turns out to be gay. Armed with the hate crimes bill, if it becomes law, local prosecutors will have an incentive to pile hate crime charges on top of simple assault and thereby garner federal funding that will be available under the Shepard Act. The suspects then face an “enhancement”–several more years behind bars–for committing a hate crime. Or they are acquitted, and the federal prosecutor promptly moves in. Double jeopardy will metastasize from its already swollen presence in the justice system.