Wednesday, February 23, 2005

They just can't give up, can they?

Having had their favorite anti-free speech bill shot down for the tenth year in a row, members of the Hate Crimes lobby are going to try another approach: Allow the voters to decide the issue directly.

Forgive me for yawning, but I've been through all this before. Back in 2001, after Utah Legislators sensibly refused to make concealed carry permits invalid in schools for the fifth year in a row, the anti-gun forces confidently started a voter initiative drive. And who could blame them for being confident? After all, the Salt Lake Media, the police chiefs, and the polls were all solidly in their favor. Even weasley former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt "expressed support" (natch).

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the revolution. While the voters might have liked the idea in abstract, they weren't willing to sign the petition and the initiative died. It turned out that in a post-9/11 world, most parents didn't really mind the idea of a legally-armed principal or teacher in their kid's school. It's safe to say the issue has been settled for now.

I predict the same thing will happen with hate crimes. Polls show about 60% of Utahns support a hate crimes bill, but most of that support is quite weak. And once the LDS majority finds out that hate crimes laws are being used by militant homosexuals to persecute and prosecute conservative Christians, the issue will finally die the death it deserves.

For as Captain Holly has repeatedly said: You can protect free expression. Or you can "stop hate". You can't do both.


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