Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Protest Calls for Passage of NC Hate Crimes Protections for LGBT Tarheels

hate300New Hanover County, NC – In the wake of a violent attack on two gay men in Wilmington, NC in July, protestors gathered Thursday to repeat their call for the passage of hate crimes protection for LGBT North Carolinians.  Chaz Housand and Chet Saunders were beaten outside a popular bar on Front Street in Wilmington after celebrating their graduations.  Three suspects are charged with the attack, which witnesses say was accompanied by virulent anti-gay slurs as the two men were beaten senseless and left on the sidewalk.  Both sustained considerable injuries, and investigators on the scene suggested that more serious harm might have been done had witnesses not intruded on the attackers.  Tab Ballis, an independent documentary film maker and local human rights leader told WWAY News, “In downtown there is a lot of general violence, but this violence by three assailants was directed towards these two men because of the perception that they were gay.”  Protestors point out that North Carolina is one of sixteen states that does not protect LGBT people against hate crimes, and they want the State Legislature to pass a statute criminalizing anti-LGBT bias crimes in the Tarheel State.  Assistant District Attorney James Blanton told WWAY News that though North Carolina does have laws protecting people from attacks against them because of race, religion, or country of origin, “Sexual orientation is not one of the protected classes. If someone commits a misdemeanor assault based on the fact that the victim has a different sexual orientation that they’re not satisfied with, it would not bump it up to a felony.”  The Safer Communities Act, North Carolina State House Bill 207, would provide protection based on victims’ sexual orientation, as well as for gender and disability.  Human rights advocates are concerned that the three alleged attackers will not face appropriate punishment for their actions because the statute is not yet law in North Carolina.  Ballis went on to say, “Hate crimes are based on fear, ignorance, and misunderstanding. And I think we all believe that folks that pay taxes deserve to be safe in their own community.”

September 11, 2009 - Posted by | Beatings and battery, Bisexual persons, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, North Carolina, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, women | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: