The US House of Representatives has passed HR 1913, “The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act Of 2009.” Passage in the Senate is expected, and President Obama undoubtedly will sign it into law. It will expand the characteristics protected by federal law to include sexual orientation, and for the first time will allow federal prosecution where states do not pursue hate crime indictments.
The Libertarian Party of Georgia is opposed to the bill for three reasons: individualism, free speech, and Federalism.
Since Libertarians decline to see people as anything but individuals, we do not care what anyone’s sexual orientation is; to us that is irrelevant. Assaulting a person is a felony and should be prosecuted as such. We see no difference between the “hate crime” of assaulting a gay man and the “love crime” of assaulting a straight man. To us it is the “assaulting” that is the issue. Our state party platform says “We oppose all legislation providing enhanced or reduced penalties for crimes based upon the bias or prejudice of the criminal in selecting the victim or property.”
In order to accept the concept of “hate crimes”, our lawmakers — Constitutionally sworn to uphold equal protection under the law — must see gays (and racial minorities and the handicapped and believers in any or no religion) as “other”. Libertarians reject that: all of us are members of the smallest minority on earth, the individual.
The Libertarian Party of Georgia platform states “We oppose what are commonly called “hate crimes.” We oppose all attempts to prosecute people because of their thoughts or words…We do not believe people should be criminally penalized in any way for their beliefs, for that would be criminalizing dissent.” Libertarians, like all followers of the Constitution, jealously guard the free speech right to dissent. We oppose any misguided attempt to limit the First Amendment.
Criminal justice traditionally is a state matter. In an era of an over-reaching national government, we believe a federal law is a violation of the Founders’ conception of Federalism.
Outright Libertarians is a national organization of Libertarians whose mission is “to present libertarianism, The Libertarian Party and its Candidates to the GLBTQ community.” Members of the organization largely come from the LGBTQ community, and they see their job as explaining why Libertarian solutions for LGBTQ issues are better than those offered by any other political party. The group wholeheartedly supports the Libertarian Party platform.