violence motivated by a person's gender, disability or sexual
"The U.S. Senate voted to extend hate crimes legislation and the House
voted to support it," the spot says. "The American public overwhelmingly
supports it. But George W. Bush and Rep. James Rogan actively oppose hate
The House recently cast a nonbinding vote urging acceptance of the
measure, which was approved by the Senate in July. The move was approved
by a 232-192 vote.
Rogan was among those who cast "no" votes because the measure "might
have the unintended effect of weakening existing laws," said Jeff Solsby,
a spokesman for the congressman.
He added that the effect of a crime is felt by the family of any
"It is not defined by a particular identity or affiliation," he said.
Current federal hate-crime law is restricted to violent crimes
motivated by race, ethnicity or religion.
David Smith, a spokesman for Human Rights, said the group is spending
$75,000 on its radio ad campaign in the hope of expanding hate-crime
"There's an epidemic of violence that's sweeping the country, that's
targeting people for who they are," he said. But some groups oppose
"All victims of crimes should be treated equally," said Andrea Sheldon
Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.
"If you kill somebody, whether they're heterosexual or they're
struggling with their sexual orientation ... you should be tried and
convicted to the fullest extent of the law," she said.
The homosexual community, she said, is using the hate-crime
legislation "to make Americans accept homosexuality as normal."
Rogan -- whose record on gay and lesbian issues has earned him a low
rating from the Human Rights Campaign -- was the only House candidate
included in the ad campaign.
Smith said limited resources forced Human Rights to "choose our