The Oklahoma State Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to force state officials to break federal law by destroying evidence of crimes against gays.
Read that sentence again. Seriously. Read it aloud and marvel at the irrationality. And yet, it’s true.
Under the new provisions of Senate Bill 1965, reports that were collected during investigations of possible hate crime that did not end in a conviction would be destroyed or kept by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. [Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City] said the bill is meant to prevent the federal law enforcement officials from taking over a case and applying different standards when local law enforcement has already investigated a case.
“We just donâ€™t want the pendulum to swing too far the other way,â€ he said. “This protects people to do or say whatever they want, as long as it complies with local ordinances.â€
Including, for example, if they want to make hunting homos the Official Oklahoma Pastime.
And don’t think Sen. Russell, who is totally not gay you guys, is looking to protect hate crimes in general. He made his anti-gay intentions clear when this bill was introduced last November.
State Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said the newly passed Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which extends hate crimes law protections to include actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability, oversteps the bounds of the federal government and hinders free speech and religious freedom.
Russell said because the government has decided to intervene on issues of morality, he is worried that religious leaders who speak out against any lifestyle could be imprisoned for their speech.
â€œThe law is very vague to begin with,â€ Russell said. â€œSexual orientation is a very vague word that could be extended to extremes like necrophilia.â€
Let’s quickly dispense with this closet case’s arguments. No, federal hate crime legislation does not prevent hate mongers from spewing their bile against those that they hate. Such a provision would clearly violate the First Amendment.
Secondly, the law is not vague, nor can it be extended to necrophilia. This is an old James Dobson lie that has been disproved both by watchdog groups and by the congressional committee before the Matthew Shepard Act was voted on.
Every once in a while, I wonder where I’d move if I had to leave my home state. If I weren’t convinced before, Oklahoma is certainly crossed off the list now. I wouldn’t even visit at this point.
(h/t Pam’s House Blend)