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Utah lawmakers have opportunity this year to do what their colleagues for many years now have failed to do – give an approving nod to hate crimes legislation! And since voter approval of Amendment 3 in November, which bans gay marriage in Utah, there should be little objection, as there has been in the past, to including the words “sexual orientation” in the legislation.
In KSL’s view, any measure aimed at enhancing criminal penalties for crimes committed primarily because of a perpetrator’s actual bias or prejudice should be unambiguous. Anything less than listing specific groups while offering only vague references to bigotry and prejudice would prove difficult to prosecute and essentially eviscerate the law. Rather than creating “protected classes,” as opponents claim, listing specific groups would make absolutely clear what constitutes so-called hate crimes while leaving little room for ignorant dismissal of the gravity of the crime. Besides, the more specific the legislation, the easier it would be to enforce.
KSL believes it is entirely appropriate to punish more severely those criminals who perpetrate their hateful deeds primarily because of bias or prejudice towards another – in other words, out of hatred. Those convicted of such crimes ought to receive stiffer sentences. The message ought to be sent that such despicable expressions of intolerance will not be condoned.