Story last updated at 3/4/2009 - 11:01 am
Editor's note: This is part of a series of essays written by Floyd Dryden eighth grade students in Samantha Davis' class. Students could write about any topic they felt strongly about.
In the famous words of Dr. King, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.'" If we are so equal, why is it that in only nine states crimes against homosexuals are hate crimes? Why aren't the other 41 states creating that same equality? Crimes against gays and lesbians should be considered hate crimes.
Gays and lesbians are equal to other victims of hate crimes. When asked about how he feels about the issue, Floyd Dryden student Aaron Abella responded, "All people are equal, no matter what their sexual orientation is." The hate crime laws in most states cover only the victim's race and religion. The definition of a hate crime is "The violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, religion, disability, and ethnicity." Why aren't they equal? All of the criteria are there. Why aren't we protecting our equality and peace? When a homosexual is assaulted or attacked in any matter of violence, it is mostly because of their sexual orientation.
When a homosexual is endangered in any way they should be able to have the same amount of justice as any other victim of a crime. In a recent poll, 29 out of 30 people said that gay and lesbian victims of hate crimes should be equal to the ones of race and religion. The top three crimes have been based on: 59 percent racial, 17 percent religion and 14 percent sexual orientation. Not only should gays and lesbians crimes be equal to other hate crimes, but also they should be more protected and accepted.
We need to have equality in protection. Police stations aren't always a safe place for homosexuals because victims have been abused further while under the custody of police officers. Now this doesn't mean all of the police officers are this way. This just means that a few of them are like this. Crimes where the sexual orientation is involved aren't always taken seriously because officers could be "unsympathetic" because of their own " homophobia." Adding the law to all the states would make victims know they will have justice when the state and local authorities don't properly prosecute. We should protect them the way we would want to be protected.
The hate crime law should cover gays and lesbians. It is as simple as that. They should have the equality other victims do, and the same protection. Accepting them would be good as well because we could meet people we'd never think about meeting. No crime victim is more important than another. It is all equal, no one higher or lower. No "special treatment," just equal.
As Charles Evans Hughes once said: "When we lose the right to be different we lose the right to be free."