Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hate Crimes

If you want to take a stand against those who seek to divide rather than unite, and if you want to send a message that New Hampshire is no place for bigotry, intolerance and hate, then come to Concord on Thursday morning.

The House Criminal Justice Committee will be holding a public hearing on House Bill 136, which would repeal NH's existing sentencing enhancements for crimes committed out of hostility to a victim's race, creed, or sexual orientation.

Let's be perfectly frank. This effort has everything to do with gay and lesbian Granite Staters. Too often, people seek scapegoats, and with the often emotional fallout from the Gene Robinson and Mass. gay marriage controversies, many of our gay and lesbian neighbors find themselves being targeted by individuals with a different agenda.

If we repeal our state's hate crimes provision, we are sending a message that we are not serious about standing up to the forces of hate and ignorance. I know that the people of NH are better than that, and I hope that people will let their representatives and senators know that they will not stand for rolling back the clock on matters of tolerance and justice.

The challenges we face in this day and age are tremendous. We will only rise to the challenge when we include everyone as a full and equal member of the American (and New Hampshire) family.