Alabama Senate Committee Passes Hate Crime Expansion Measure
A bill sponsored by Alabama state Sen. Rodger Smitherman would expand
the state’s hate crime law to cover sexual orientation.
(glbt), March 1, 2002
State Legislative News: (excerpt)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP)—A state Senate committee
split along party lines Thursday in voting to expand Alabama’s hate crime
law to cover a crime committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation. Six
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for the bill, and five
Republicans voted against it.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Rodger Smitherman now goes to the
Senate for consideration. The committee’s vote came three years after a gay
Sylacauga man, Billy Jack Gaither, was beaten to death and his body burned.
Two men were convicted of capital murder and are serving life in prison
Alabama law mandates minimum mandatory sentences that people must receive
if their crime was motivated by race, color, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, or physical or mental disability.
Senate Republican leader Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia Hills said he objects to
hate crimes legislation because it creates a special class of people by
enhancing the punishment for crimes against them.
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