ADL Regional Director Scott L. Levin Applauds Wyoming Tribune Eagle for Advocating Another Look at Hate Crimes Legislation

  • October 2, 2015

In a recent letter to the editor of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Mountain States Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Scott L. Levin commended the newspaper for publishing an editorial advocating for the Wyoming legislature to re-visit the long held opposition to hate crimes legislation in that state.

Levin writes:

We welcome the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s call for the Legislature to take another look at whether hate crimes laws should be enacted in Wyoming.

It is time for Wyoming to get in step with the 45 other states that have long ago adopted hate crimes statutes.

The Anti-Defamation League has kicked off a campaign with numerous organizations called 50 States Against Hate in order to ensure that all states have these essential tools for countering bias-motivated violence and mitigating its impact.

Concerns about “thought control” or inhibiting free speech are without merit. Hate crimes legislation has never been about punishing people for their beliefs or speech. Rather, it is about punishing people for their criminal actions.

In America, people are free to think and say what they want. In order to be charged with a hate crime, one must be charged with an underlying crime.

Such statutes typically provide for the imposition of tougher penalties on criminals who target a person for a crime simply because of a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

The Tribune Eagle should be applauded for recognizing the merit of hate crimes legislation when underlying criminal actions have taken place that are designed to intimidate or frighten a class of people.