An appropriate image, as Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats in Congress have really managed to fuck this one up and turn their backs on their gay constituents. The New York Times had a wonderful piece on how the Matthew Shepherd Act failed to even reach the president's desk, despite a House vote of 237-180 and a Senate cloture vote of 60-39.
In answer to Bush's threatened veto, congressional leaders had cleverly attached it to the latest Defense Authorization Bill, which Bush's ideology would not have allowed him to veto. And yet, fearful Democrats unwilling to appear hawkish and staunch Republicans unwilling to appear liberal managed to kill a bill that would have expanded the definition of hate crimes to include all racial, sexual, and religious minorities and provided some measure of federal response to hate crimes.
Now, I haven't spoken much about this (neither on the blog nor in real life), just because I realize hate crimes are a really sticky issue. It's hard to explain to people why hate crimes aren't special laws meant to raise gays up or put social/religious conservatives down. But if the Catholics were being hunted down (either physically or verbally) by those around them, you can bet that they wouldn't stand for it and would demand immediate protections. The Matthew Shepherd Act and other laws like it do not state that gays inherently deserve special laws protecting them. What we really need to focus on is the fact that gays (and other targeted groups) need these laws because of the very real and very imminent danger that extremists pose.
Thus far, I remain unimpressed by the Democrat sweep of the Congress, mostly because they haven't done jack shit to deserve any praise.♦DiggIt! ♦Add to del.icio.us ♦Add to Technorati Faves