THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT ON HATE CRIMES
The Senate today did the right thing by passing the hate crimes legislation sponsored by Senator Kennedy. This is really a victory for the American people -- because Americans stand for decency, for tolerance, and for goodness. Hate crimes hurt the heart of America, the faith that we are one people with common values and a higher vision.
Hate crimes are fundamentally different from all other crimes. They are more likely to involve assault and are much more likely to be perpetrated against a complete stranger. Their very intent is to marginalize, dehumanize, and intimidate an entire group of people. That is why, no matter who is victimized, crimes motivated by hatred should be treated differently under the law. Today's vote is an important step in making sure they are.
This legislation sends an unmistakable message: If you commit a hate crime, we will find you, we will punish you -- and we will bring the full weight of the federal government to bear in doing so. I commend the 42 senate co-sponsors of this measure, who worked in a bipartisan way to pass this important piece of legislation.