Sunday, March 04, 2007

Star's Biased Coverage of Hate Crimes Bill

The Star's Bill Ruthart has a front-page story entitled, "Now to the obituary page," discussing bills that are most likely dead for the session, including Rep. Greg Porter's HB 1459 pertaining to hate crimes. A myth is being fabricated that HB 1459 died simply because Rep. Jackie Walorski filed an anti-abortion amendment to the bill. Unfortunately, folks within the GLBT community are helping perpetuate this myth to cover up the fact that House Democrats made a deliberate decision to kill the legislation after Advance America's Eric Miller and the American Family Association's Micah Clark inundated the legislature with e-mails from their followers opposing the bill based upon outright lies Miller and Clark told them about the legislation. Ruthart writes:

Rep. Gregory W. Porter, D-Indianapolis, backed a bill that would have changed Indiana's status as just one of five states that have not passed hate-crime legislation.

His HB 1459 would have allowed lawsuits to be filed against criminals if they selected their victim based on "color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or sex."

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee voted 9-1 in February to pass the bill. But after Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Lakeville, proposed an amendment, the legislation stalled and was not called for a vote before the full House.

Walorski's amendment would have made the hate-crime legislation apply to a fetus. House Democrats decided not to call Porter's bill for a second reading to avoid discussion of the amendment.

Indiana Equality, a group that has pushed hard for the hate-crime legislation, called the move "political gamesmanship."

"The bottom line is, 45 other states have passed bias-crime legislation," said John Joanette, a lobbyist for Indiana Equality. "We're confident this is a valid thing for the citizens of Indiana, and we're certainly going to work to make sure this legislation will reappear at some point in the future."

Whether that can happen this session is unclear. The language would have to be amended into another bill before the Senate.

Conservative group Advance America has lobbied aggressively against the legislation, maintaining it would provide special protection for gays and create two classes of victims, those listed in the legislation and those who aren't.

Notice that Ruthart doesn't even challenge Miller's false assertion that the legislation provides "special protection for gays" and "creates two classes of victims." His assertions are simply allowed to stand in the newspaper unchallenged. This is why Miller, Clark and their ilk delight in making up lies about legislation they support or oppose. They know our mainstream media is just too lazy to check out the facts to determine whether their assertions are true. Compare Ruthart's account to a recent story by Nuvo's Laura McPhee, and you'll understand fully what I'm talking about.

Sadly, the organization which is supposed to be looking out for GLBT interests at the State House, Indiana Equality, didn't even put a fight by staging a press conference to set the record straight. Instead, they chose to provide cover for the House Democratic leaders, who didn't want their members casting a vote on a bill characterized by Miller and Clark as being for "homosexuals and cross-dressers," by blaming its defeat on the Walorski amendment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are completely correct.