Last edited: February 14, 2005

People For The American Way Action Fund Opposing Amendment No. 1251

HATE CRIME STATISTICS ACT (Senate — February 8, 1990)

Congressional Record [S1071]

People For The American Way Action Fund, Washington, DC, July 19, 1989.

Dear Senator: In the next several days, the Senate is likely to consider the Hate Crime Statistics Act, S. 419, which directs the Department of Justice to collect and publish data on crimes which manifest prejudice based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The Hate Crimes Statistics Act enjoys wide support: it has over 50 Senate cosponsors, the Judiciary Committee passed it unanimously in March, the House of Representatives voted 368-47 in favor of it on June 27th, the National Association of Attorneys General unanimously passed as resolution calling for its passage, and President Bush publicly announced the Administration’s endorsement during the celebration of the Civil Rights Act’s 25th anniversary.

According to several public interest groups which monitor hate crimes, the 1980’s have witnessed an alarming growth in prejudice-motivated violence nationwide. It is important to document that cross burnings are more than `arson’ and that swastikas painted on synagogues are more than `vandalism.’ This kind of violence intimidates and harasses the whole group with whom the victim is identified. By documenting the nature and scope of these crimes, the Hate Crimes Statistics Act will facilitate the efforts of law enforcement officials to combat the lawlessness and intolerance practiced by hate criminals.

According to the Wall Street Journal of July 14, 1989, `an aide to Mr. Helms says he hasn’t yet decided whether to try to kill the legislation again.’ It is possible that Senator Helms may offer anti-gay amendments, including an amendment to delete from data collection crimes against homosexuals. Such an amendment would severely undermine the intent of the bill, which is to provide a full review of crimes motivated by prejudice and bigotry. Furthermore, a study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice in 1987 reported that, `the most frequent victims of hate violence today are blacks, Hispanics, Southeast Asians, Jews, and gays and lesbians. Homosexuals are probably the most frequent victims.’

We urge your support for the Hate Crimes Statistics Act without weakening amendments.


ARTHUR J. KROPP, President.

JOHN H. BUCHANAN, JR., Chairman.

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