By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com October 09 2009 10:55 AM ET
As the U.S. Senate is next to vote on a Defense Department funding bill
with a provision to extend hate-crimes protections to LGBT people, House Minority Leader John
Boehner has told reporters that he disapproved the
bill in its current form because it's "offensive."
"This is radical, social policy that is being put on the Defense authorization bill, on the backs of our soldiers, because it couldn't pass on its own," he said on Thursday following the House's 281-146 passage of the bill.
Boehner accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of exercising an abuse of power. He also said he would urge his fellow Republicans to reject the bill.
"The fact that we're going to pass a law to add further charges, based on what someone may have been thinking, I think, is wrong," Boehner said when asked why he thought the bill was offensive. "Secondly, though, the bigger issue is adding this issue to the Defense authorization bill is an abuse."
The Senate will likely come to vote on the bill as early as next week, the Human Rights Campaign's Allison Herwitt told Advocate.com on Thursday.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told the press on Thursday that if the bill reached President Obama's desk, he would sign it.
Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, who passed away this August, and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan originally introduced legislation to expand hate-crimes protections in both chambers of Congress in 2001. The legislation was renamed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act in honor of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man who was brutally murdered in Laramie, Wyo., in 1998.