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Hate Crimes and the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Jim Burroway

January 30th, 2006

Progress is slow here on this website, but then worthwhile progress is always slower than we’d like it to be. There are several new projects in the works, including a major examination of one of the most famous antigay tracts of the past few decades by one of most-quoted researchers. A sneak preview should be available in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile same-sex marriage continues to make the news in the U.S. Just last fall, Texas votors approved a ban against same-sex marriage in a lopsided vote during an off-year election. Just recently, the Virginia legislature voted to put a proposed constitutional ammendment before the votors in 2006. Several other states, including Arizona and Pennsylvania, are poised to take up the question as well. Meanwhile, efforts continue in Massachusetts to roll back gay marriage there.

Thirteen states voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2004, a year that saw significanltly hightened levels of antigay rhetoric. Some gay advocates predicted a backlash against gays and lesbians in the form of increased hate crimes, a prediction that was largely dismissed by opponents to marriage equality. Last fall the FBI released it’s Hate Crime Statistics for 2004 which showed somewhat mixed results nationwide. But in the states that voted to ban same-sex marriage that year, hate crimes against gays and lesbians rose significantly from the year before, strongly bucking the national trend. The FBI’s statistics bear out what we all instictively know: words have consequences, and sometimes those consequences are very serious indeed.

You can learn more about it in When Words Have Consequences: Hate Crimes and the Same Sex Marriage Debate.

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