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Posted on April 2nd, 2012, by

I would like to address in this paper to the Hate crimes topic. In my opinion it is necessary aspect of the US legislative system and we should discuss it with more details in the body of this paper. The concept Hate crime has not so long history as other concepts in the criminal law, because it was used for the first time in 1985. If to take into account contemporary situation we should say that exactly now it became popular and it took place after Hate Crime Statistics Act publication. Based on this information we should analyze hate crimes in the USA and discuss actual cases about crimes committed against homosexuals.

In the acknowledgement of my previous words about the term hate crimes appearance it is necessary to quote one information: In Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics, authors James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter recount the introduction of the term hate crime in 1985, coined in legislation centered around the Justice Department’s collection of “hate crime statistics.” The media picked up on the term and quickly began to write about an epidemic before these statistics had even been gathered. (Jacobs & Potter, 1998) It is also interesting that one of the first works published in 1991 was dedicated to the violence in relate to homosexuals and lesbians. At the beginning of 90th of the last century the term hate crimes become legalistic (legal) in nature, including legislative acts. It is also necessary to mention that in fact, crimes motivated by racial, ethnic, religious hatred or hostility – “hate crimes” – have always been. It is suffice to recall many religious wars, crusades, international and inter-ethnic conflicts, massacres and persecution of anti-Semitism.

According to Hall a hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim’s:

ü      disability

ü      race

ü      religion or belief

ü      sexual orientation

ü      transgender (Hall, 2005)

Every person in our society can become a victim of hate crime and all of them are important, because all people have a sexual orientation, different beliefs and a racial identity. Anyone and not only homosexuals or lesbians could be targeted for their identity aspects or other characteristics. Describing the main objects of hate crimes we should say that especially violence motivated by racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia (hostile attitude towards homosexuals) subjected to criminalization in our society. Thus, in the U.S. to the groups who commit hate crimes against above numerated problems were classified neo-Nazis, skinheads and the Ku Klux Klan. After a short time, we found how began to grow literature publications on the issue of crimes committed by ethnic, racial or religious hatred or enmity on the basis of homophobia.

Describing different laws we should mention that there are several Acts that cover hate crime offences, including:

ü         Public Order Act 1986, Part III Incitement to Racial Hatred

ü         Football Offences Act 1991 (as amended)

ü         Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended by Anti-terrorism, Crime & Security Act 2001)

ü         Criminal Justice Act 2003

ü         Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

ü         Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (www.homeoffice.gov.uk)

As it was defined in previous information depending on the penal law and doctrinal opinions nowadays exists different kinds of hate crimes: it can be crimes for reasons of racial, national, ethnic hatred or hostility, motivated by religious hatred or enmity, and in respect of sexual and other minorities. The last-named species – homophobia is necessary to dwell in some detail, because it becomes of fundamental importance and relevance to modern American society.

The prevalence of same-sex love is known since ancient times. Homosexuality, both male and female existed among primitive peoples in Africa, Asia and America. Homosexual relations were common in ancient India, Egypt, Babylon, as well as in ancient Greece and Rome. Moreover, homosexuality is widespread in the animal world too.

According to various researchers, in the modern world, a stable homosexual orientation has an average of 1 – 6% of men and 1 – 4% of women. These numbers – “lower limit”, as the total number of men and women who have had homosexual contact at least once in life, comes, according to Kinsey, 48% of men and 19% of women.

Obviously, homosexuality, and bisexualism is normal in the sense that it is the result of a scatter, poly sexual desire, formed during the evolution of the human race. If all other forms of sexual behavior than heterosexual, and were absolutely pathological, they would have long ago eliminated as a result of natural selection. On the “normality” of homosexuality shows the relatively constant proportion in the population.

I think that hate crimes against homosexuals and lesbians can destroy the American structure, because sex minorities have the same rights as other people and they should be protected in their rights like any person in our contemporary society. There were fixed many hate crimes against homosexuals and it is the way of destruction, because hate is very strong feeling that can break destinies and future even of strong nation.

Thus, based on all above said it is necessary to mention that Norbert Finzsch, the author of the book Identity and Intolerance: Nationalism, Racism, and Xenophobia in Germany and the United States, notes that no country is immune from such sentiments, and to counter them, only using the power of the state and society. (Finzsch, 2002) It is known that condoning such acts leads to “chain reaction” – the neglect of minorities gradually grows into their discrimination and insults, which, in turn, are rapidly moving into a stage of violence. In considering such cases, U.S. courts are based on two assumptions. First, they believe that any minority have the right to lead the lifestyle and adhere to those practices that are considered necessary, so they should be able to protect themselves from the prejudices prevailing among the majority. Second, the majority must realize that their actions cause suffering minority. However, unknown as to whether laws designed to combat hate crimes, to create true harmony in the society or, conversely, they contribute to the division. The fact is that research on this issue has started relatively recently.

For the conclusion it is necessary to say that according to the Department of Justice, “hate crime” to a greater extent than any other type of crime, provokes conflicts, social unrest and even riots. “Hate crimes” is also significantly degrading the climate in society and it has negative influence on all its members in spite of their status and beliefs.

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