Questioned about why the House's top Republican opposes a hate crimes bill penalizing violence against gays, his spokesman said he "supports existing federal protections (based on race, religion, gender, etc) based on immutable characteristics," just not protections for things like being gay -- which conservatives occasionally claim is a choice.
When CBSNews.com asked Boehner's office to comment, it's quite clear that the Ohio Congressman and his mouthpiece are completely ignorant about the law that is currently in place, since gender is not included. Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith was ridiculed for this religion-is-in-the-DNA logic for opposing adding sexual orientation and gender identity into the law.
Northeastern University professor Jack Levin, who co-authored the first book written about hate crimes, told Hotsheet that "to use immutability as a criterion doesn't make any sense at all."
"Especially if he supports the current stand," Levin continued. "Religion is clearly not ascribed. It's not built into the organism. People can change it at any time and people do."