Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants State to Legislate Exemption from the Recently-Passed Federal Hate Crimes Bill
Comparing homosexuality to necrophilia, Oklahoma State Sen. Steve Russell (R-Oklahoma City) plans to introduce a bill that would exempt the state from having to abide by the recently passed Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act on the basis of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Says Russell, who is upset that the bill was attached to a Department of Defense bill: “The bill gives the federal government power that was not given to them in the Constitution. I am aware of the supremacy of the federal government over state governments, but the federal requirements are vague enough for us to make actions. We just have to be very careful on how we proceed.”
Russell says he considered finding a way of still taking the $5 million in federal funds that the Hate Crimes Act provides state agencies but decided against it because it would "be a compromise in the values of his bill."
The Oklahoma Daily reports: "Russell said because the government has decided to intervene on issues of morality, he is worried that religious leaders who speak out against any lifestyle could be imprisoned for their speech. 'The law is very vague to begin with,' Russell said. 'Sexual orientation is a very vague word that could be extended to extremes like necrophilia.' Russell said he is also concerned if someone is attacked and killed for his or her sexual orientation, the suspect could pass the blame onto a religious leader who preached out against the lifestyle of the victim who was attacked."
Said Russell: “The federal government should not be creating a special class of people, and that is just what they did when they passed and signed this bill. All crimes against another person have some level of hate in them, and people can be assured that our laws that protect people against crimes such as murder are sufficient to protect everyone.”