Column: California takes the lead on hate. That’s a good thing. Someone has to.
On May 1st, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the State Law Against Hate Crimes, making the Golden State the first state to define what is and what isn’t hate crimes. The bill also mandates that the state’s two hate groups register with the state. If you’re not already following California’s progress on hate crimes, you can get your start by reading the following excerpt from the bill:
Sec. 2. (a) Hate crime is any criminal offense that is committed against a person or persons because of the person’s actual or perceived race, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin, or because of the person’s actual or perceived membership in a particular group.
(b) Unless the offense is committed during the immediate presence of the victim or victims, the term shall be deemed to include any act committed against a person or persons in a private place or place open to the public that results in the victim or victims receiving a forced oral or anal examination, including but not limited to a forced genital examination or being made to expose the anus, rectum, or the perineum, or any act directed at a person with the intent of causing the person to touch the victim’s genitalia, anus, or perineum.
(c) The offense is a hate crime if the victim or victims were subjected to repeated or escalating harassment and other forms of mistreatment that are motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s actual or perceived race, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin, or because of the person’s actual or perceived membership in a particular group, that is intended to cause harm or injury to the victim or victims.
(d) A violation of this section, any act that violates this section, or any act or omission in the commission of a violation of this section, is a hate crime.
This bill is a first step on a journey