Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Then and Now: Hate Crimes and Non-Discrimination

Hate Crimes

Rudy Giuliani’s reversal on the need for a federal hate crimes law is one of our biggest disappointments in where he now stands on LGBT issues as a candidate for President. In case you missed it, here’s one of his campaign operatives telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that Giuliani no longer supports passage of a federal law.

A former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a former Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department responsible for supervising all the U.S. attorney offices’ law enforcement agencies, and a Mayor who made fighting crime a centerpiece of his time in office, Giuliani’s new position on hate crimes seems antithetical to everything he stood for in the past.

We posted his 2000 press release where he announced his own hate crimes initiative, which came just a few months before New York State finally passed a statewide law. In the press conference he held (that we attended to show our support), Giuliani announced the formation of a Hate Crimes Task Force for NYC and put over $5.0 million in taxpayer dollars behind it so that the NYPD and the City’s District Attorneys would have the funding they needed to investigate and prosecute possible crimes motivated by bias. He also said, as you can read in his release, “I call upon the State Legislature and Congress to enact hate crimes legislation that recognizes the severity of hate crimes and imposes the appropriate penalties.”

Given that hate crimes legislation passed the House of Representatives this year by a vote of 237-180, the Senate by a vote of 60-39 and the White House has said it will veto the measure, this is no academic issue. It’s before our federal government right now.

Hate crimes against LGBT people continue to spike up across America and we need Republican voices speaking up on why a federal law is important, but Rudy Giuliani’s voice is no longer there because he changed his position during the heat of the campaign primary season.

What does this say about Rudy Giuliani? We’ll leave that to you to decide, but I think you can figure out what we think about it.


While NYC already had a law banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation when Giuliani was Mayor, we did not have protections in NYC for transgender people or a statewide law addressing either sexual orientation or gender identity and expression discrimination.

As Mayor, Giuliani frequently spoke about his support for the then-pending statewide Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA). I myself heard him state his support for SONDA each time I attended his annual Pride event in June at Gracie Mansion. And you can hear a reporter and one his openly gay political appointees, Chris Lynn, talk about Giuliani’s support for SONDA and hate crimes legislation in this video clip we posted last week on YouTube.

While support for non-discrimination legislation was a major part of his schpiel on gay issues whenever he spoke to our community, support for transgender non-discrimination protections was not. He and NYC Council Speaker Vallone blocked pending legislation amending the City’s human rights law to provide protections based upon gender identity and expression. It took Bloomberg becoming Mayor for trans discrimination to be outlawed.

So where is Rudy Giuliani on pending federal non-discrimination legislation for LGBT Americans, known as ENDA, another issue that is before Congress right now?

He’s silent. Despite the many times he spoke passionately as Mayor about there being no room in NYC for discrimination and the need for a statewide non-discrimination law, he’s nowhere to be found on federal non-discrimination legislation protecting LGBT Americans.

Perhaps he'll still articulate his views on this critically important civil rights issue. We hope so. We’ll be sure and let you know if he does.

For more on Rudy Giuliani, go to “The Giuliani Files” on the Pride Agenda website.

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