WISCONSINREPORT.COM (04/28/2009) - Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore is co-sponsor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913). The act is designed to give local law enforcement agencies tools to combat violent hate crimes. If passed. it would expand the definition of a Hate Crime. Moore says every American regardless of race, religion, color, gender or sexual orientation should never have to be a victim of a hate crime.
“Violence committed against someone with the intention of intimidating the community is absolutely unacceptable," said Congressional Representative Gwen Moore.
Current law recognizes that when someone is targeted because of their race, religion, color or national origin it elevates the threat to the entire community and it is a hate crime, but Moore believes the current definition falls short.
"Presently, hate crimes are only recognized under federal law if the victim is engaged in a federally protected activity such as voting," Moore says. "In addition, the current definition does not include crimes motivated by a victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability."
"In defining a hate crime we recognize that violence perpetrated upon someone because of race, religion, color and national origin is wrong," Moore continued.
"However, not until now are we truly acknowledging that the same type of violence and harassment that countless Americans face because of their gender or sexual orientation is just as heinous and appalling," Moore said.
This bill woule provide the same type of protections to those victimized because of sexual orientation as those victimized because of religion, race and ethnicity.
"Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are disproportionately affected by hate violence," Moore explains.
According to the FBI, 16.6% of hate crime victims in 2007 were victims of crimes motivated by hatred of lesbian, gay or bisexual people.
"I have been and will continue to be a firm believer that all Americans, including the LBGT population, have the fundamental right to feel safe in their communities," Congresswoman Moore said.
"Many do not realize that under current law if one is victimized because of his or her religion it is not considered a hate crime unless the victim is patronizing a public venue or is engaged in another type of federally protected activity," Moore pointed out.
This bill will expand the definition of a hate crime so if a criminal act is committed with the intent to intimidate a certain community- no matter where and when it is committed- law enforcement officials will be able to prosecute the perpetrator(s) to the fullest extent of the law.
"It is my hope that with an increased Democratic majority and a new Administration, this bill will finally be passed into law," Moore said.
"Every American regardless of race, religion, color, gender or sexual orientation should never have to be a victim of a hate crime and this bill will help ensure that if one is a victim of hate violence, local law enforcement has the tools necessary to prosecute offenders," Congressional Representative Gwen Moore said.
Gwen Moore is a Congressional Representative elected by voters in the Milwaukee area of the State of Wisconsin. She was elected to Congress to represent Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District in 2005.
Moore served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1989-92, and in the State Senate from 1993-2003. In 2000, Congresswoman Moore earned a Harvard University Certificate for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Congresswoman Moore earned a B.A. in Political Science from Marquette.
Congresswoman Moore is a mother of three and grandmother of three, all of whom live in Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1951, Congresswoman Moore was raised in Milwaukee. The eighth of nine children, Representative. Moore’s father was a factory worker and her mother was a public school teacher.