Washington, DC, October 11, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed "deep disappointment" at the action by House Republican leadership to strip language which would have expanded current federal hate crime protection from a pending defense bill. This provision, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, had been approved 65-33 in the Senate in July and 213-186 in the House last month.
"We are deeply disappointed by the House Republican leadership's decision to ignore clear bipartisan congressional majorities in acting to strip the hate crime provisions from this legislation," said Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This action thwarts the will of the substantial majorities in both chambers that voted in support of this measure to expand federal and state coordination to address hate violence in our nation."
The measure removed from the Department of Defense Authorization Bill over the weekend would have enabled the federal Department of Justice to assist local prosecutions and, where appropriate, investigate and prosecute cases in which the bias violence occurs because of the victim's race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability. Existing law does not provide authority for federal involvement in sexual orientation, gender, or disability cases at all.
"This legislation was one of our top legislative priorities for the 108th Congress," the ADL leaders said. "We will carry this fight forward into the next Administration and the next Congress – continuing our leadership of the broad coalition of law enforcement, civic, religious, and civil rights groups working to enact this necessary legislation."
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have passed hate crime statutes, many based on model legislation drafted by ADL. The League has been a pioneer in drafting and promoting tougher hate crimes laws across the country.