http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/10/obama-to-sign-hate-crimes-bill-wednesday.html This one slipped up on me. It seems that H.R. 2647 which is a defense authorization act recently made its way from Congress to the President's desk. Buried deep inside this bill is the `Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act' which makes "sexual orientation" a protected civil right. The hate crimes bill might have stalled had it not been attached to the defense bill. This is the way it has worked in Washington for years. A controversial bill is attached to some unrelated legislation in order to get it passed. So much for open governement and (good) change. One thing that I find disturbing is the provision that allows the federal government to prosecute under this hate crimes statute when: "the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence; or a prosecution by the United States is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice." In other words - the Federal Government can prosecute if they don't like the way a state trial turns out. A "not guilty" verdict in a state court may only be a prelude to a federal trial. If you thought the fifth amendment protected us from double jeopardy you were wrong! One can be tried twice when both the State the Federal governments have a law regarding a matter. So much for civil rights. Unless God sees fit to change the President's mind we can expect this "hate crimes" act to be signed into law this week. A.F.