By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com October 14 2009 12:30 PM ET
House Minority Leader John Boehner says that hate-crimes protections should not be extended to LGBT people -- though he supports existing federal protections extended on the basis of "immutable" characteristics, like religion.
Boehner has made it clear that he is against protecting victims of hate crime -- which he calls "thought crimes" -- on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He thinks that "immutable" or unchanging characteristics should be protected, but does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in that assessment, according to CBS News. The current federal hate-crimes law protects citizens on the basis of religion, race, and color.
Last week, after the House passed an expansion of the hate-crimes law to include LGBT protections, Boehner said its attachment to a Defense Department spending bill was "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 October 8 following the House's 281-146 passage of the bill.
Boehner accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of 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."