The Year of Moving Forward

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

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hate Crimes: Sean Kennedy and Jeff Sessions

Remember when I wrote the post about Sean Kennedy? I also referenced it the other day.

To refresh your memory, Sean was killed during a hate crime near Greenville, South Carolina, in march of 2007. He was lured to a car when a guy asked him for a cigarette. Stephen Moller got out of the car and called Sean "faggot" and punched him so hard it broke Sean's facial bones and separated his brain from his brain stem.

A few minutes later Moller left a message on one of Sean's friend's phone: "You tell your faggot friend that when he wakes up he owes me $500 for my broken hand."

Trouble is, Sean never woke up.

Moller received a five year suspended sentence reduced to three years (with credit for time served). Oh, and 30 days community service.

Why bring this up again?

Because I have just read his mother's (Elke Kennedy) chapter in Mitchell Gold's book "Crisis."

She got the 4:30 am phone call. She rushed to the hospital in disbelief that anything could have happened to her son.

"When I finally got to see my son, my knees buckled. He was lying flat on his back, stitches on his upper lip, blood on his hair and neck, hooked up to a respirator."

The last word Sean heard was "faggot."

"At 11:20 pm, beautiful Sean was pronounced brain dead. My baby was gone forever. I would never be able to speak with him again, to tell him I love him."

Even after his death, hate is aimed at his family. How did her church respond?

"After Sean's death we were no longer welcome at our church. church friends stopped calling - they didn't want to take sides! We do not belong to any church now. I have been told numerous times by people calling themselves Christians that my son is in hell and that I will go to hell because I love him and I fight for equal rights for all human beings. Although it hurts terribly when people say these things to me, it is nothing compared to the pain of losing my son."

South Carolina, like Alabama, does not have a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. Neither does the United States.

We are still waiting to see if an inclusive hate crimes law will be enacted on the federal level, and we can only hold our breath for so long.

Attorney General Holder urged passage of the bill by the Senate, and it could be passed as an amendment to another bill any day. Or not.

Of course Jeff Sessions opened his bigoted mouth during hearings.

But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the committee, questioned whether data show there is sufficient need to pass hate crimes legislation for LGBT people.

"One of the things that's important is to know do we have a problem of … noticeable number of cases not being prosecuted in state and local government relating to these kinds of issues that we're calling hate crimes," he said."

First of all, Mr. Sessions, it does not matter whether a "noticeable number" of cases are involved or not. One dead man is enough. Sean's case was not prosecuted as a hate crime. What if this had been your son, Mr. Sessions, whose brain "ricocheted in his head."

Secondly, look at the statistics, Mr. Sessions. Yes, hate crimes against gays are up .

This man is dead. He's part of the statistics. But what you are really saying, Mr. Sessions, is that you don't give a damn what happens to gay men or the suffering that their mothers go through. That is shameful. But that comes as no big surprise, that's your party standard.


rev. bill said...
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Joe said...
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Anonymous said...

Great post.
Thanks for sharing this story.