It's hard for legislators to resist the tug of passing hate crime laws. To do so puts one in the position of seeming insensitive at the least and of being a raging bigot at the worst.
Moreover, supporting hate crimes laws can make one feel caring and virtuous, but the fact is that hate crimes laws are unnecessary, and they are unconstitutional because they violate the equal protection clause.
Think about it: Should a man who is assaulted because he is Mexican receive more justice than a man who is assaulted in the same way because he is wearing a Utes T-shirt or driving a nice car?21 comments on this story
Over the years much has been made about the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, who was killed by two men allegedly just because he was gay. However, both offenders were prosecuted for first-degree murder (not hate crimes) and given life sentences. Would the killers have warranted a lesser sentence if Shepard had not been gay?
Prosecutors should be focused more on the nature and gravity of criminal acts and less on the motives of the offenders or the lifestyles of their victims.