During the same historic week in whichmarriage equality was passed in Maine
, the Republicans -- the self-proclaimed party of emancipation and "the liberty tree"
-- attempted to derail hate crimes legislation with some political trickery that succeeded in allowing Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to accuse the Democrats of protecting pedophiles. Stay with me on this.Rep. Steve King (R-Batshittia) introduced an amendment
to the hate crimes bill calling for the term "sexual orientation" to exclude "pedophiles" even though the bill specifically defines sexual orientation as "consensualhomosexuality or heterosexuality." Pedophelia, as everyone knows, is nonconsensual no matter who engages in it.
Not only was King insinuating the derogatory stereotype that homosexuals are pedophiles, but his amendment would've further validated this stereotype by writing it into the legal record. By the way, Joe the Plumber -- another very serious leader of the Republican Party --advanced the same stereotype this week
when he said that he'd never let his "gay friends" anywhere near his kids. Classy. Nevertheless, King making this kind of distinction is sort of like amending civil rights legislation with: "the term 'African Americans' shall not include anyone who rapes white women." It elevates a stereotype while denying one exists. Pretty slick -- in a creepy, sinister kind of way.
Obviously, the point of King's amendment was neither to help to separate the LGBT community from nonconsensual sexual deviants, nor was it designed to make sure pedophiles weren't covered under the hate crimes law. King's intention was absolutely to trick Democrats into voting against the amendment -- and they did -- thus allowing the Republicans to say that Democrats are with the pedophiles.
So the Republicans are seeking a way out of their current mess by defining the Democrats as the party of pedophilia, even though the GOP's previous attempts to paint the Democrats as the pro-terrorist, anti-American party failed miserably to prevent landslide Democratic victories in the last two general elections.
But of course King's stupid amendment trick allowed Sean Hannity to repeat throughout his Tuesday night show things like
, "Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles?" Limbaugh, meanwhile, remarked that the Democrats are "carving out protection for perverts." This from a guy who successfully wiggled out of a legal situation involving the possession of prescription E.D. meds (not in his name)
during a stag trip to a destination apparently known for sexual tourism.
Here's the thing, though. Hannity, Limbaugh, King and 166 House Republicans
are decidedlyagainst the hate crimes bill. The legislation, as passed by the House, specifically defines hate crimes as being "motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim." Again, Hannity, King and the rest are absolutely opposed to this.
So while the Republicans have vocally and repeatedly expressed their position against "protecting pedophiles," it can be said -- and, quoting King, "it's a matter of record" -- that they're also against protecting women, racial minorities, ethnic minorities, religious people and disabled people, among others.