Last edited: February 14, 2005

Revised Language on Discrimination Suggested the Committee Report on Bill 10-30

February 11, 1993

TO: James E. Nathanson
      Chair, Committee on the Judiciary

FROM: Donald M. Haines

SUBJ: Revised language on discrimination suggested for the committee report on Bill 10-30

This is a revised version of the language, referring to discrimination and the Human Rights Act and rooting that language firmly in the testimony before the committee, which I said I would provide for the committee report on Bill 10-30:

During its hearing, the Committee received testimony from several witnessed to the effect that when a vague criminal statute of general applicability is widely violated but not generally enforced, there arises the opportunity for selective, discriminatory enforcement against disfavored minorities and individuals. The example of improperly using vague loitering laws against African-Americans and civil rights activists was frequently cited.

Numerous witnesses also testified that the specific law under amendment in the proposed bill has itself been the source of discriminatory enforcement, so that one of the effects of this bill would be in fact to reduce such discrimination—discrimination prohibited under Chapter 25 of title 1 of the D.C. Code. The Committee was informed that, precisely because sodomy laws routinely involve such discrimination while also providing a perceived "authorization" for other forms of collateral discrimination, numerous religious denominations and organizations—including the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the General Board of Church and Society of the united Methodist Church, the American Jewish Committee, the American Friends Service Committee, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Office of Church in Society of the United Church of Christ, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the National Federation of (Roman Catholic) PriestsCouncils, among others—have supported sodomy decrimination efforts around the nation.

Reflecting this testimony, the Committee voted to amend the long title of the proposed bill to include "reduce discrimination" as one of the effects of the legislation.

I realize that everyone said "short" title yesterday, but the phrase "reduce discrimination" would appear better placed in the "long" title and this would be preferable, if procedurally doable.

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