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Why Tiahrt voted 'no' on hate crimes bill

tiahrtnewmug18Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, voted against H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. Tiahrt's office released a statement referring to the legislation, which passed the House on a 249-175 vote, as the "Democrat 'thought' crimes bill" and suggesting that it would step on free speech, freedom of religion and states' rights. The congressman said: "Under this legislation, criminals who kill a homosexual, transvestite or transsexual will be punished more harshly than criminals who kill a police officer, a member of the military, a child or a senior citizen. That is not 'justice for all.' All victims of a crime deserve full and equal justice under the law, not special treatment that discriminates against particular categories of citizens. . . . Creating a politically favored class of victims that gets greater protection under the law is simply un-American." Reps. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, and Jerry Moran, R-Hays, joined Tiahrt in the "no" column, with Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, voting "yes."