Update on local hate crime
The trial for three of the four young men who pretended to be friendly to man they met in Oilcan Harry's and went home with him, only to tie him up, beat him, sexually assault him, and then steal from him begins on Thursday. Details here.
The prosecution isn't going to charge them formally with a hate crime, because they say that the robbery and sexual assault charges carry a higher penalty, which I'm sure is true. However, as far as I know, gay bashing is deliberately not covered by Texas hate crime law, but I may be wrong. There is a bunch of high-minded rhetoric to justify not including sexual orientation as a bias crime motivation, but all that rhetoric is just a cover for excusing gay bashing. There is no excuse for gay bashing, and those who perpetuate it need to be punished to the full extent of the law, especially considering the fact that gay bashing is usually an extremely cruel and humiliating crime.
The defendents in this case are spewing all sorts of bullshit themselves, going from denying that anything happened to explaining that they had no choice but to assault the man because they were angry that he made a pass. Sure--if you're the sort of homophobe who flips out like that, then why are you partying in a gay bar? And how does that explain the sexual assault? I suppose their next line of defense will be that it was religious expression, because they read Bible verses to the victim while they sexually assaulted him.
It looks like the prosecution is pushing as hard as they can, which is good news. Sexual assault and rape are two of the biggest law enforcement problems in the Austin area, and I commend our police department and justice system for putting as much effort and creativity as they can into helping with the problem.