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Murray Sabrin on Civil Rights

Republican Senate challenger


Gay-bashing is insensitive, but free speech; not hate crime

The conviction of Dharun Ravi on March 15, 2011 for "bias intimidation" of his roommate Tyler Clementi, who subsequently committed suicide, is a tragedy for everyone involved in this incident. A young gay man is dead; gay activists have applauded the conviction (although Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi's suicide).

The facts of this case are not in dispute. Ravi set up a webcam on his computer to "spy" on his roommate who was having an intimate encounter with another man. Clearly, Ravi violated Tyler's privacy. But the charge that Ravi engaged in "bias intimidation" because he made fun of his gay roommate [means it] rose to the level of a "hate crime.".

The conviction of Ravi raises a far more troubling issue, the assault on free speech. The American people's free speech rights are unequivocal, the government--federal-state and local--should not be able to prosecute us for engaging in unpopular, controversial or for that matter "insensitive" remarks.

Source: 2014 Senate campaign website, www.MurraySabrin.com , Mar 17, 2012

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