Democrats Accused Of Using Hate Crime Bill To Protect Pedophiles (VIDEO)

06/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The new, new thing in criticizing Hate Crimes legislation is to pretend that the Democrats have gone and given a whole bunch of special considerations or legal protections to pedophiles. That's the case that Representative Peter Steve King made to a suppliant Sean Hannity yesterday:

HANNITY: We're running out of time. Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles but not offer the same protection to servicemen and women? Is that an accurate statement?

KING: Sean, it is a matter of congressional record. Absolutely true -- beyond any doubt whatsoever. The recorded votes are there to prove just what you've said. They -- and on top of that, [Rep.] Alcee Hastings [D] from Florida, that spoke on the rules debate, and he read a list of about 30 different paraphilias -- proclivities, I call them -- including pedophiles, necrophilia, and a number of things that I wouldn't say on this program or any other. And he said I think all philias whatsoever should be protected by this law. That means every perversion that you can imagine would be special protected status under the Democrats' bill that passed off the -- floor of the House of Representatives.

OK, in the first place, Representative King needs to get his head examined, brusquely, by some sort of pneumatic hammer. Ryan Grim made note of Alcee Hastings' little bit of Congressional theater, which was done to demonstrate that "every perversion that you can imagine" WOULD NOT BE PROTECTED BY THE HATE CRIMES ACT.

But more to the point, this has nothing to do with pedophiles receiving special legal benefits. This has to do with King's attempt to assert an equivalency between homosexuality and "perversion." Really, this is entirely ancillary to the issue of hate crime legislation itself.

Let's take a look at the relevant Congressional testimony:

KING: This amendment goes to the end of the bill, and it simply says, since we have apparently waived the reading of it, which I do -- it's very short -- it says, "The term sexual orientation as used in this act or any amendments to this act does not include pedophilia." And we've gone through in this debate significant discussion about what sexual orientation means and does not mean. And yet I have not heard from the proponents of this bill into the record a definition of sexual orientation.

I would like to have defined sexual orientation precisely. I recognize, Mr. Chairman, it's unlikely that we will get that done in this committee given the reticence on the part of the majority party to consider any of the changes that we've offered here -- I think in a fashion that is determined to bring this bill out of this committee. And I'm frustrated that we're not able to add better definitions to the ambiguous terms to lock people up in penitentiaries if this bill becomes law.

And, so, this amendment that I have addresses the issue of pedophiles. And under the term "sexual orientation," if it includes those types of proclivities, particularly the one that is most egregious of all -- and that is victimizing children for the sake of sexual activity with them -- the pedophiles should not be protected under this legislation if we're able to adopt this language that's in my amendment. So, my amendment does not specifically define sexual orientation, although I've tried to do that.

But what it does do is say it doesn't include pedophiles, because I think the intent of this committee is clearly that we don't want to provide a, let's just say, special-protected status, for pedophiles. There are others that I would put in that list as well, but this is the one that stands out to me. It should be beyond question that this committee should be able to take a look at this amendment and conclude that whatever we might think about proclivities, pedophiles is not one that should be included. And, so, that's what my -- I'd yield.

See, to King, "sexual orientation" lacks a legal definition, and so, barring specificity, how can anyone be sure that we're not accidentally cutting in pedophiles or necrophiles -- or corpophiles like King! -- in on some sweet, sweet, hate crime protection. The only problem here is that sexual orientation has heretofore been given a legal definition, and, appropriately, it's a very narrow one, enunciated with crystal clarity by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, moments later:

KING: And so I would urge adoption of my amendment that defines clearly that whatever sexual orientation is, it is not, and does not include pedophiles. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I'd urge adoption of my amendment, and I would yield back the balance of my time.

BALDWIN: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word in opposition to this amendment, that, well -- the gentleman claims that we have not pinned down the definition for sexual orientation. And, indeed, in our earlier session, yet today, I drew his attention to the fact that there is a definition with regard to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. During the break, I searched to just confirm that what I had articulated earlier today was indeed the definition and it is: "Sexual orientation is means consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality." That is the definition.

Now, as you've noted earlier, there's only one term defined in this legislation, and that's gender identity on page 14. And the reason for that is that that definition exists nowhere else in federal law. This is the first time it's occurring in federal law. But in every other case, gender disability, sexual orientation, race, national origin, color, and -- I'm missing one. The architecture of the hate crime statutes in the United States is those definitions do not lay within that architecture. They exist elsewhere in federal law, and we rely on them. So there is a clear, concise definition of sexual orientation.

Baldwin goes on to note:

Your amendment is unnecessary and, I would add, inflammatory in terms of insinuations, I would say. But given the definition of sexual orientation meaning "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality," it is absolutely clear that that could not include pedophilia.

So there you have it! Either King is making nimrod-hash out of a serious issue because the vagaries of Congressional testimony are just obtuse enough to fool a clown like Sean Hannity, or King just doesn't understand plain English. Either way, no hate crimes protections have been extended to pedophiles, and the insinuation that pedophilia and homosexuality are somehow linked remains a quaint notion, unsupported by scientific research, the end.

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]

Suggest a correction