I almost share the views expressed by this Washington Times editorial. I say almost because for the life of me, I cannot see why you can support hate crime laws for a whole slew of victim-classes, but not for one of the most targeted, gays. The WT seems to think the only rationale is the assertion that anti-gay hate crimes are on the rise. But that has never been the fundamental case. Whether these crimes are rising or falling (and the stats deserve severe skepticism) does not undo the fact that attacks on people perceived to be gay (which includes many straight people) remain a significant chunk of all "hate crimes". The first president Bush started collecting the data. Is sexual orientation a "choice" and therefore unqualified for hate crimes protections?
Nah, but even if it were, hate crime laws already apply to religion which is obviously a choice.
I'm for getting rid of all of these laws, as attacks on freedom of thought. I also think the current proposal is a bit of flim-flam that will likely make no difference in the real world. But the GOP hysteria over this hate crime law, as opposed to all the others, seems obviously a case of prima facie homophobia. That bigotry obscures the serious case to be made that all these laws are unnecessary infringements on freedom of thought and corrosive of equality under the law.