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Congressman Franks Votes No OnHate CrimesProvision in DOD Authorization Bill
October 8, 2009 -
Congressman Trent Franks(AZ-02) gave the following statement today after voting against H.R. 2647, the conference report on the DOD Authorization bill, because of highly-politicized language first included in the Senate version in the Leahy Amendment. Until this year, Hate Crimes language and similarly controversial language has always been leftoutof defense bill due to the necessity of not politicizing the funding of America's warfighters.
Franks stated,"Liberal Democratshave stooped to a new low when it comes to politicizing our historicallyapoliticalannual defense bills. I could not be more passionately devoted to providing for the needs of our troops in accordance with the recommendations of our generals and warfighters on the ground who are paying the price for the liberties we exercise in America every day. However, I cannot in goodconscience votefor something that in the same breath threatens the very liberties they are fighting to protect. The Leahy hate crimes language included in the bill does exactly that.
"The hate crimes provision weakens the long-cherished commitment of this nation to protect free speech, the freedom of conscience, and the free exercise of religion, and it gives the courts a wider door for threatening these freedoms. It could allow pastors, priests, or other religious leaders to be found guilty of afederal crimesimplyfor their teachings on sexual practices, among other things. All of this would inevitably have a 'chilling effect' on religious expression and would significantly undermine our First Amendment freedoms-- both of which are completely unnecessary in the DOD Authorization bill.
"My liberal colleagues are pacifying their liberal base and using a criticalnational security billto ram through one of their longstanding liberal priorities, I could not be more disappointed that they have thrust a controversial liberal priority onto the backs of our warfighters, and have forced a partisan vote where one shouldnothave taken place.
"I hope this doesn't mark the beginning of a liberal trend to politicize those noble individuals who make unspeakable sacrifices to keepeveryAmerican, regardless of their political views, secure and free. Our warfighters deserve better than this from theUnited States Congress."