Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Hate Crimes Law

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri has vetoed a “hate crimes” bill that would have included transgenders as a protected class under state law.

LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that in his veto message, Gov. Carcieri said the state already has effective hate crimes legislation on the books and that adding the terms “gender identity and expression” are confusing.

The new law defines these terms as including situations when “a person’s actual or perceived gender, as well as a person’s gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth.”

The governor goes on to explain that as long as a criminal act was done willfully and knowingly, “the perpetrator’s motives are irrelevant.”

Therefore, “I vetoed this legislation in the past and I do so again,” he said.

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, applauded the governor, saying he “deserves praise for his strong stance for the families of Rhode Island, and other Governors can learn by his example.”

“Given the challenges facing America, it’s troubling that any legislature would invest time and taxpayer monies to consider such a superfluous agenda-driven maneuver, much less pass it through both Houses,” said Perkins. “In vetoing the measures, Governor Carcieri rightly chose to tend to the serious business of governing Rhode Island and rejected those who seek to use government resources against anyone who would oppose their radical agenda.”

Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon D. Fox has not yet indicated whether the Democrat-dominated Assembly will attempt to override the governor’s veto.

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