Homosexuals Face Greater Risk of 'Love Crime' Than 'Hate Crime,' Says Conservative Activist
(CNSNews.com) - As hate crime legislation once again takes shape in Congress, one conservative group warns that homosexuals face much more danger from other homosexuals than they do from individuals targeting them for their sexual orientation.
According to Gary Glenn, the president of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association, homosexuals have a 50,000 percent greater risk of being a victim of what he calls a "love crime" than they do of being a victim of a "hate crime."
"How seriously should we take homosexual activists who feign alarm about [hate crimes] while ignoring or covering up the ... greater threat" of domestic violence? Glenn asked.
The American Family Association of Michigan is fighting state legislation that would add violence against homosexuals to the existing hate crime law. The measure in a previous legislative session passed the Michigan House of Representatives but was killed on procedural grounds in the Senate. Twenty-one states plus the District of Columbia already have hate crime laws that single out protection on the basis of sexual orientation.
Glenn compared 1999 FBI data on crimes committed against certain demographic groups with 1991 data compiled by two homosexual activists, David Island and Patrick Letellier.
Using that comparison, Glenn said, in 1999, the number of hate crime "offenses" committed because of a victim's sexual orientation was 1,317 compared to as many as 650,000 incidents of domestic violence between male homosexual couples in an earlier year.
Measuring such violence is difficult, though, because the collection and reporting of such data is far from thorough. The 1998 annual report on homosexual domestic violence published by the national homosexual activist group LAMDA, for example, pegs the incidents of documented domestic violence at 3,327 for a recent year.
According to Island and Letellier, who authored a book on homosexual domestic violence, the likelihood for homosexuals being involved in domestic violence is twice what it is for a heterosexual couple. Domestic violence, wrote the authors, is a primary health risk for homosexuals, ranking only behind AIDS for males, cancer for females and drug abuse for both.
But for the Triangle Foundation, a Michigan homosexual activist group, its efforts on behalf of hate crime laws aren't tied to numbers. "I don't care if it was one person, frankly. It would be worth" the effort of pursuing hate crime laws, said Heather MacAllister, field director for the Foundation. MacAllister believes statistics on hate crimes are under-reported by victims and law enforcement.
In any case, MacAllister does not find the comparison between domestic violence and hate crime violence a useful one. "It's two different things," she said. "This (Michigan) legislation does not address domestic violence, so making that comparison is pointless," she said.
"Certainly, anyone in a domestic relationship has a chance of domestic violence; it's no different in the lesbian-gay world than it is in the heterosexual world," said MacAllister.
At the federal level, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) re-introduced legislation Tuesday that would, like the Michigan bill, for the first time treat cases involving violence directed at homosexuals as hate crimes. The bill also seeks to protect people from being victimized on the basis of their religion, race and national origin.
The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2001 would also authorize the U.S. Justice Department to give grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Co-sponsor Connie Morella (R-Md.) said the bill would mean a "significant federal role" in combating hate crimes.
The issue is controversial for a number of reasons. Opponents often argue that victims of violent crimes should not be distinguished on the basis of their demographic group. Supporters of hate crime legislation argue, in part, that such violence is more offensive or traumatic than other types of violence.