Reasons to Oppose Adding “Sexual Orientation” to the Federal Hate Crimes Law

Reasons to Oppose Adding “Sexual Orientation” to the Federal Hate Crimes Law

Congress will soon consider whether to add “sexual orientation” to the list of federal hate crime categories. Several state legislatures have considered these kinds of proposals and some have already become law. This policy paper explains the reasons why Family Policy Network (FPN) is opposed to all such proposals.

Reason #1: Providing Greater Protection to Selected Victims Violates the Constitution
Equal protection under the law is guaranteed to all citizens by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states “No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”(1) Therefore, any attempt to provide special protection to a select group of people, especially when the basis for the special treatment is private sexual misconduct, is unconstitutional.

Reason #2: So-Called “Hate Crimes” on the Basis of “Sexual Orientation” Rarely Occur
In 1997, the FBI reported a total of three murders against homosexuals living in the U.S. because of the because of the victims perceived sexual behavior.(2) More recently, only one murder was classified as a “hate crime” against a homosexual out of the 16,137 murders committed throughout the nation in 2004.(3,4) Meanwhile, homosexual activists have openly acknowledged their desire to “portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers.”(5) Since violent crimes rarely occur on the basis of one’s sexual practices, homosexual activists have had to stage these crimes and/or mislabel other criminal activity as “hate crimes” in order to justify the need for changes to current law. Here are a few examples:

· The murder of homosexual college student Matthew Shepard in 1998 is frequently cited as a reason to add “sexual orientation” to “hate crimes” laws. However, an extensive ABC News investigation reported in a 2004 broadcast on 20/20 that Shepard’s murder was not based on “homophobia” but was in fact a drug-related robbery gone wrong.(6) Despite the evidence that no “hate crime” occurred, the Senate version of the “hate crimes” legislation (S. 1105) is deceptively named after Matthew Shepard.

· A homosexual Boise State University student named Alex McGillis told police in 2006 he had been violently assaulted by a man using “anti-gay rhetoric”. Two weeks later, police announced McGillis had admitted to staging the hate crime by beating himself with his fists and a stick in order to exact the injuries he had reported.(7)

· A homosexual man in Michigan named Anthony Anthos was reportedly beaten to death with a metal pipe “just for being gay” in February of 2007. Members of Congress immediately began citing the Anthos case as a reason to pass “hate crimes” legislation. However, one month later Detroit police dismissed claims of violence against Anthos, confirming his death was caused by a degenerative disease affecting his spine.(8)

REASON #3: The Most Common Perpetrators of Violence Against Homosexuals are Other Homosexuals
Proponents often claim adding sexual orientation to the list of federally protected hate crimes categories will reduce violent crimes committed against those individuals who engage n sexually deviant practices. Liberal homosexual advocacy groups like the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) gathers statistics on “hate crimes” committed against homosexuals and same-sex domestic abuse. According to data compiled from the NCAVP during the 1999-2003 period, homosexuals were 244% more likely to be the perpetrators of violence against other homosexuals than were heterosexuals.(9) The real agenda of homosexual activists is not protecting people from targeted acts of violence but rather vilifying Biblical teachings against sexual immorality. In their efforts to silence opposition to their perverted lifestyle, they ignore the true threat to a homosexual’s safety: other homosexuals.

REASON #4: Adding ‘Sexual Orientation’ to Laws Unwittingly Endorse Destructive Sexual Behaviors
Statistics indicate that in the case of homosexuals, lifestyle choices are leading millions to an early grave.(10) In one study conducted by Oxford University and the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that if a man begins practicing homosexuality by age 20, he has only a 50 percent chance of reaching the age of 65.(11) One pro-homosexual newspaper admits: “Reports at a national conference on sexually transmitted diseases (STD) indicated that gay men are in the highest risk group for several of the most serious diseases … [due to] an increase in risky sexual practices by a growing number of gay men.”(12) By adding “sexual orientation” to hate crimes categories, the government extends legitimacy and approval to an immoral, unhealthy and potentially deadly lifestyle.

REASON #5: Laws Protecting “Sexual Orientation” Have a Chilling Effect on Religious Free Speech
Putting a secular-humanist government in charge of determining what constitutes “hate” has already proven itself dangerous to Christian liberties. In countries such as Canada, England, and Denmark where physical crimes against homosexuals receive heftier punishments, Scripture passages such as Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1 that call homosexuality an abomination against God have been deemed as “hate speech” and Christians have been denied their right to speak out against this unbiblical lifestyle. Even in America, such legislation is being used to persecute Christians for taking a biblical stance on sexual immorality. At a homosexual rights event in 2004, eleven Christians in Philadelphia were arrested and jailed for preaching the Gospel on a public sidewalk.(13) They were arrested under a “hate crime” law for preaching that homosexual behavior is sinful. While they were eventually released, the incident served as an ominous foretaste of what Christians could face if “hate crimes” legislation is passed.

Other Reasons

· Law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute violence against all citizens
The concept of “hate crimes” is also an affront to local law enforcement officials who prosecute criminals based on the crime they committed not their motives. It implies that officials don’t prosecute certain crimes sufficiently.

· Crime is already illegal
All crimes, no matter what the motivation, are already illegal under existing state and federal laws. The notion that some crimes should be “more illegal” because they were committed against certain persons is illogical and unfair.

· ”Sexual orientation” can be widely defined
What will prevent the heinous acts of bestiality or pedophilia from being considered a sexual “orientation” and protected as such under “hate crimes” laws?

· Sex habits are changeable
Existing laws against “hate crimes” allow certain minorities to receive protection based upon inherent, undeniable characteristics such as race or sex, not on their lifestyle choices. Adding the phrase “sexual orientation” is an attempt to classify homosexual behavior as an inherent, genetic trait, even though no credible evidence exists to prove this. The stories of thousands of former homosexuals often attest to the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christians must realize that efforts to pass “hate crimes” legislation are part of a larger attempt by homosexual activists to portray sexually immoral behaviors as inherited traits and to legitimize their sin. There are many reasons to oppose the legislation: all citizens already have equal protection under the law; the reasoning behind adding “sexual orientation” to existing “hate crimes” laws is based on lies; the homosexual population is more of a danger to itself than any outside group; the government should not endorse dangerous and deadly lifestyles; and if passed, this legislation could pave the way for governmental infringement of certain rights such as the freedom of speech, religion and conscience.

-View FPN’s “Hate Crimes” Policy Paper Statistics Supplement here.


1. United States Constitution, Amendment 14.
2. Hate Crimes Statistics 1997. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

3. Murder: Crime in the United States, 2004. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

4. Hate Crimes 2004, paragraph 14. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

5. Kirk, M., Madsen, H. (1989). After the ball: How America will conquer its fear & hatred of gays in the 90’s. New York: Doubleday. p. 183.
6. New details emerge in Matthew Shepard murder. (2004, November 26).

7. Mayes, D. (2007, January 16). City prosecutor summons BSU student to appear in court for false report. The Arbiter.

8. Schaefer, J., Swickard, J. (2007, March 29). Anthos’ death blamed on hate is not that at all. Detroit Free Press.

9. See FPN’s “Hate Crimes” Statistics Supplement, as found at

10. Dailey, T., Sprigg, P. (Eds.). (2004). Getting it straight: What the research shows about homosexuality. Washington, DC: Family Research Council.
11. Hogg, R. “Modeling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men,”
International Journal of Epidemiology 26 (1997): 657-661.

12. Roundy, B. (2000, December 15). STD rates on the rise. New York Blade News, p. 1.
13. Christians arrested at homosexual event. (2004, October 15).

Prepared by FPN Policy Analyst Alex Mason.


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