Senator Allen Comes to his Senses
The Cybercast News Service is reporting that Sen. George Allen is dropping his support for 'hate crimes' legislation that includes sexual orientation as a protected class. Allen voted for similar legislation back in 2004.
Allen's staff gives two rationales for this change:
The first is, he feels that those changes to hate crimes laws could have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights...Of course, we all know what is really going on here. Allen is no dummy, and he recognizes that he will be battling a number of other ambitious souls for the conservative mantle in the 2008 primaries. Allen is smartly seeking to short-circuit any strikes that others might raise against him with the GOP base.
Secondly - even though he doesn't feel that the legislation that was voted on in 2004 in and of itself, would elevate 'sexual orientation' to civil rights status - it's becoming clear that there are some courts that would use that as a building block towards civil rights status, which he is opposed to.
As I've said before, Allen is most comfortable and most convincing when he's talking about economic, not social, conservatism. Still, GFA is savvy enough not to give his opponents too much rope with which to hang him.