Transgender Bill Gets Hearing, Support from Austin Police Chief

Apr 9, 2009
Topic: Update

1:35- AUSTIN POLICE CHIEF, ART ACEVEDO, REGISTERED IN FAVOR OF THE BILL, BUT DID NOT STAY TO TESTIFY. Hearing concludes.

1:30- Testimony is being offered about heinous murders against transgender persons.  These are awful, we agree, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which we already have against murder.  As with Mathew Shepard, his offenders were sentenced to life sentences without parole, and they only avoided the death penalty because Shepard’s parents pleaded with the judge to do such.  That is the highest level of punishment that exists, and “hate crimes” law would have added nothing to this.  This is one reason why they are unnecessary.

1:15-Gender identity v. sexual orientation is now being explained.  This underscores part of the problem.  Is there a clear definition of “transgender” or “gender identity” or “expression?”

1:00 p.m.- That was quick, I came up third.  Some good back and forth with Rep. Moody, he’s a former prosecutor so he has experience with criminal procedure issues.  Rep. Pierson clearly didn’t agree with me on our position on this bill.  She used the example of Matthew Shepard and asked if I was okay with that.  And I pointed out that he was prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and there was no Hate Crimes law then, and that is what we are arguing here, that the law already protects against murder, etc.  She also made a reference to a personal connection she with this issue, and talked about how we need more love, almost suggesting that if you have a view against transgender or homosexuality that you hate when there should be love.  I countered that, she just made my point, that these hate crimes laws cause people to think if you disagree with one of the “protected classes” that you have “hate.”  Just because you don’t agree with someone is not “hate” is called free speech.

12:45 p.m.  Rep. Coleman is not here to lay out his bill.  Rep. Moody has laid it out for him.  Texas Eagle Forum is testifying against the bill.

Hearing started.

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