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
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 Administrations endorsement during the celebration of the Civil Rights
Acts 25th anniversary.
According to several public interest groups which monitor hate crimes, the 1980s
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
According to the Wall Street Journal of July 14, 1989, `an aide to Mr. Helms says he
hasnt 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
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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