Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Treat Victims Equally Sen. Ferlo's Anti-Hate Crime Push Has a Problem

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Treat Victims Equally Sen. Ferlo's Anti-Hate Crime Push Has a Problem

Article excerpt

The Post-Gazette has been an opponent of discrimination in many forms, but at the same time has been uneasy with laws that impose enhanced penalties for so-called hate crimes. Of course, it is deplorable if hatred motivates a crime, but probing a criminal's motives can be problematic.

As we said in a 2007 editorial, making distinctions that implicitly give greater gravity to one crime over a similar one because of the perpetrator's motivation has a Thought Police aspect to it.

"The same desire that moves us to support equal treatment of all - men and women, black and white, gay and straight - also propels us to think that an assault is an assault, a murder is a murder and that crimes should be prosecuted without making invidious distinctions in the eyes of the law, before whom all should stand equal," we wrote.

This week Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, spoke at a rally in favor of Senate Bill 42, an amendment to include language protecting the LGBT community in Pennsylvania's existing hate crime law. …

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