Friday, Oct 23rd, 2009
The U.S. Senate sent a landmark bill Tuesday to President Obama that includes hate-crimes protections for homosexuals which critics say will infringe on the religious liberty of pastors and other faith leaders.
It is the biggest federal legislative victory to date for homosexual organizations.
In a 68-29 vote, senators passed 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the hate crimes measure that adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” as well as disability, to the current categories — such as race, religion and gender — protected from hate crimes. The House of Representatives voted 281-146 on Oct. 8 for the same defense legislation, which was used as a vehicle for the hate-crimes measure though it is not directly related to the controversial provision. President Obama has said he would sign the bill.
“Sexual orientation” includes homosexuality and bisexuality, while “gender identity,” or transgendered status, takes in transsexuals and cross-dressers.
Obama has promised to sign it into law despite his opposition to funding in the bill for a specific fighter jet engine. He made his pledge at an Oct. 10 dinner sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s leading homosexual organization.