Colorado Amendment2 Query

Topics: AA
06 Jan 1993


Scott Safier writes:
|> Michael R Linksvayer writes:
|> > Show me how
|> >white, straight males have more than equal protection _before the
|> >law_. I agree that straight males have advantages based on some
|> >people's attitudes and customs, but I am talking about _legal_
|> >advantages.
|> In Colorado, gays and lesbians are less equal, before the law. They
|> cannot seek recourse for hate-crimes committed against them. They
|> cannot seek recourse for discrimination is public services, jobs, or
|> housing.
I don't think you have met the challenge here. If a gay person is
assaulted, are they denied legal recourse because they are gay?
No. The Colorado law does nothing of the sort. What then is a
hate-crime? The supreme court recently decided in the St. Paul vs.
X (whose name I have forgotten) case that while destruction of
property is a crime the particular message that crime carries
is not crime per se. It seems to me the same thing is at issue here.
Is breaking the arm of a gay person worse than breaking the arm of
a straight person because the motivation is different? If the
answer is 'yes', you are advocating inequality before the law.
Banning hate-crime legislation as an additional measure would
seem to create more equality before the law. (BTW, it is not clear
to me that the Colorado amendment actually does this, but it
doesn't matter for the sake of this argument).

The second point begs the whole affirmative action debate, which
certainly cannot be settled here. AA is always to some extent
unequal because it selects some groups but not others and rewards
or punishes individuals based on the group they are in regardless
of the crimes done to or by the individual in question. If AA
were just for blacks and not for women, would women then be unequal
before the law?
I don't think so. It might be inconsistent in terms of the
reasons for AA, but that's a different matter. Failing to have
the same special protection as some other minority group is not
inequality before the law, as it has come to be understood. If
you think it is, then white straight males don't have equality
before the law and all AA programs should be repealed in the
interest of achieving it.

|> People that murder gay men and lesbians are routinely found "not-guilty" or
|> guilty of a lesser charge by many juries throughout this country.
|> [and numerous others anecdotes of how gays are treated unfairly]

While all of this is true (as far as I know), it too misses the point.
The question is equality in law, not in outcome. If particular juries
refuse to properly apply the law, that does not mean the law itself is
unequal, it only means prejudice is so strong that implementation is