Expansion of state's hate-crime law sought
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
effort comes after a
gay man allegedly
was killed by white
OKLAHOMA CITY -- An
Oklahoma City lawmaker
wants to expand the state's
hate-crime law to cover sexual
orientation and gender.
Rep. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, also wants to make
a violation of that law a felony
instead of a misdemeanor.
The state's only openly gay
lawmaker said the current
hate-crime law lists ethnicity
and religion, among other
things, but not sexual orientation or gender.
McAffrey cited the recent
killing in Oklahoma City of a
gay man who authorities say
was targeted by white supremacists as part of a gang initiation. Investigators believe that
Steven Domer, 62, was strangled Oct. 26 by two members
of a white-supremacist group
who targeted Domer because
he was gay.
Darrell Lynn Madden, 37,
has been charged with first-degree murder in Domer's
slaying and in the shooting
death of Madden's friend,
Bradley Qualls, 26.
Authorities allege that Madden and Qualls were connected to the United Aryan Brotherhood and killed Madden to
earn a place in the gang for
McAffrey has some support
for his legislation from Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who said the
hate-crime law should be
more general, covering any
crime perpetrated for the purpose of furthering hate.
Prater said it could be used
to enhance punishment for
other offenses, such as manslaughter, murder and assault
He said he believes that because hate crimes are now a
misdemeanor, some might go
unreported for fear of retaliation.
Justice Waidner, executive
director of the Tulsa-based
Oklahomans for Equality, said
violence not only affects people who are gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual but also
those who are simply per
ceived to be.
Oklahomans for Equality
seeks equal rights for people
who are gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual and their
families, she said.
"One of my hopes with regard to this bill is that we can
ensure the message is sent
that all of our citizens are welcome and safe in our state,"
McAffrey said he doesn't
think getting the legislation
modified will be an easy battle.
Senate President Pro Tem
Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater,
said he is open to the idea, but
lawmakers must consult with
prosecutors regarding potential changes.
"It is hard for me to understand how anyone could be an
advocate of hate," he said.
Senate Co-President Pro
Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, could not be reached
Damon Gardenhire, a
spokesman for House Speaker
Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, said
Cargill would reserve comment until he could review
specific details of the proposed legislation.
Barbara Hoberock (405) 528-2465