The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hate Crime in South Carolina No Big Deal

Sean Kennedy was killed in May 2007 by Stephen Moller, of that there is no doubt. But Moller will only spend about two and a half years in prison for the crime. His sentence is a whopping three years, but he gets credit for time served. In South Carolina, cock fighting lands a harsher sentence.

Sean was openly gay.

Moller punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground and causing a fatal head injury.

Moller claims he didn't know Sean was gay, but an openly gay kid in town who particpates in pride and frequents the same bars...that's hard to believe. Plus there's this.

The warrant issued soon after the crime alleged that the assault was motivated by the fact that Kennedy was gay.

Moller made a phone call shortly after the crime and here is a transcript from MSNBC: "Hey. (laughter) Whoa stop. (laughter) Hey, I was just wondering how your boyfriend's feeling right about now. (laughter) (??) knocked the f--- out. (laughter). The f---ing faggot. He ought to never stick his mother-f---ing nose (??) Where are you going? Just a minute. (laughter). Yea boy, your boy is knocked out, man. The mother-------. Tell him he owes me $500.00 for breaking my god---- hand on his teeth that f---ing bitch"

He calls the person on the phone "man" and refers to Sean as the listeners "boyfriend."

South Carolina doesn't have a hate crimes law.

Moller will spend two and a half years in prison. Under South Carolina law, felony ill treatment of animals (torture or killing) is punishable by up to five years in prison. Cockfighting can land you three years in prison, plus a fine, a stiffer sentence than killing a gay kid, according to South Carolina Equality.

Elke Kennedy, Sean's mother, said "There was no justice today for Sean. The sentence that Stephen Moller received, in my opinion, is a joke and a slap on the wrist. Once again, it proves that in South Carolina there is no justice."

"I understand that the judge had to sentence according to the plea agreement and the existing restrictions under the law. But it doesn't make it any easier for me. Our judicial system, in my opinion, is a joke."

"Our solicitor invited me to help him with the changing these laws. Well, Mr. Ariail, I am here and I am willing."

"I will still continue to push to get laws changed so no other mother has to stand here to tell you the same things," she said.

In Alabama, there is no hate crimes law either, and Alabama justice is no better. But at least since that post the Alabama House of Representatives did pass a hate crimes bill, only to see it die (it was ignored, caused by a filibuster) in the Senate. But we made progress. Let's hope progress continues... for Sean in South Carolina, and for Scotty Joe, Billy Jack and the others in Alabama.

You see, in Birmingham last weekend a thousand people particpated in the Pride Parade, many of them young like Sean. Every one of those parade participants walked by a sign saying that gay are "Worthy of Death." There were other signs, too, but that one sticks out in my mind.

Worthy of Death. Aside from the fact that we are all going to die, displaying a sign like that only serves to encourage people like Stephen Moller and Christopher Gaines, whether they have carefully planned their crime or are caught up in emotion or drunk, "worthy of death" is now in their twisted mind, and to them, the killing is justified.

And it may not be that particular sign. It can be hateful language from the pulpit, or from a "pro-family" organization or such.

Someone tried to post a link to a group that encourages hatred toward gays on yesterday's blog and I removed it. Read the comments from yesterday to learn more about that.

Stop the hatred, that's all I'm saying.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting poll:

Anonymous said...

My only response to that is: anyone who thinks gay marriage is a more important issue than ending the war in Iraq or addressing the energy and environmental issues, or health care for everyone, and votes for McCain because of that, really does not care about this country or this planet.