Boozman Opposes Thought-Crimes Legislation

Press Release

Date: April 29, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

Hate Crimes Bill Sets Dangerous Precedent

U.S. Representative John Boozman (R-AR) today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009:

"I opposed this legislation because it creates a new federal offense for so-called ‘hate crimes,' and adds a special class crimes potentially motivated by the victims ‘sexual orientation,' ‘gender identity,' or the ‘perceived' thoughts of the alleged criminal. These are extremely subjective terms that will criminalize a person's thoughts or motivations, rather than their actions. The message that Congress is sending with this legislation is that a politically-favored class of victims deserve greater protection under the law than others, such as our nation's veterans and the elderly.

"It is a mistake to carve out a protection in the law for just one segment of people. This bill violates the equal-protection set forth in our Constitution. It is constitutionally suspect, infringes on states' rights, and threatens religious freedoms and First Amendment Rights. It could also restrict free speech and lead to criminal prosecution of religious leaders or members of religious groups for expressing their religious beliefs."