I noted last week that U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, voted for a defense bill with an amendment expanding federal hate crimes legislation to sexual orientation. The freshman legislator noted that while he opposed the hate crimes part of the bill, he still felt the measure needed to be passed.
As a reiteration of sorts, Luetkemeyer signed onto a letter of several other Republicans who voted for the defense bill and objected to the decision to include the hate crimes provision.
“We object to the inclusion of the ‘hate crimes’ provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report for Fiscal Year 2010, and regret that legislation intended to provide vital support to our military personnel would be used to advance a social agenda,” said the six lawmakers in the letter. “We all agree that criminal activity against anyone is absolutely intolerable and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. However, we also feel that adding controversial hate crimes provisions to a historically bipartisan bill is an affront to our military. We wish to express our deep disappointment that our dedicated military personnel could be misused to promote social policy.”
Luetkemeyer was the only Republican in the Missouri delegation to vote for the defense legislation. Every Democrat in the Missouri delegation voted in the affirmative.
I asked Luetkemeyer spokesman Paul Sloca whether Luetkemeyer has received any criticism from constituents over voting for the defense bill. In an e-mail, Sloca said that "while some people were concerned about the vote at first, they understood that Blaine was putting principle before politics by voting for our troops."
"There also was a lot of anger toward Nancy Pelosi for attaching
liberal legislation to a defense bill, and Blaine clearly expressed
that in his letter to the Speaker,” Sloca wrote.
"There also was a lot of anger toward Nancy Pelosi for attaching liberal legislation to a defense bill, and Blaine clearly expressed that in his letter to the Speaker,” Sloca wrote.