Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, May 14, 2017

In a 3-2 decision Tuesday, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that anti-gay assaults are not protected under the state's hate crime law, according to court documents obtained by ABC News. The decision emerged from the State of West Virginia vs. Steward Butler case, which involves an April 2015 incident during which Butler allegedly directed homophobic slurs at two men he saw kissing on the sidewalk while at a stoplight before getting out of his car and striking both victims in the face with his fist, according to court documents. On May 21, 2015, a Cabell County grand jury issued an indictment against Butler, charging him with battery and violations of an individual's civil rights under West Virginia law. Butler challenged those indictments and the applicability of the law to his actions.

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According to the court, under West Virginia law it is unlawful to threaten, injure, intimidate or oppress any individual because of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation or sex. However, West Virginia's Supreme Court agreed that the word "sex" has ambiguous meaning and it is unclear if the law protects individuals based on sexual orientation.

"A review of similar laws from other states demonstrated that 'there are two distinct categories of potential discrimination: discrimination based on sex and discrimination based on sexual orientation,'" the court decision states. "West Virginia legislature could have included sexual orientation as an area of protection ... [as] [n]umerous other states have done."

Since 1987, there have been at least 26 attempts to amend the statute in West Virginia to include sexual orientation but each of those attempts failed.

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WV. Making Mississippi proud.

#1 | Posted by 726 at 2017-05-12 07:57 AM | Reply

If the summary is accurate then it seems pretty clear the specific law they were ruling on didn't include orientation.

#2 | Posted by sentinel at 2017-05-12 08:21 AM | Reply

West Virginia's Supreme Court agreed that the word "sex" has ambiguous meaning and it is unclear if the law protects individuals based on sexual orientation.

It's so unclear... to three judges and no one else. What does "sex" mean? Does it mean it's illegal to assault someone while they're having sex? Who knows?

What does "race" mean? A marathon? Horse racing?

#3 | Posted by Derek_Wildstar at 2017-05-12 12:56 PM | Reply

I heard that the state of WV was giving away a years supply of toothpaste for a whole family (1 tube) to the first person to learn the entire multiplication table.

#4 | Posted by kudzu at 2017-05-14 07:55 AM | Reply

In some free countries people aren't bothered if men kiss each other, or run around the beach naked. But not in Muslim countries or the USA, where freedom is just another propaganda term.

#5 | Posted by nutcase at 2017-05-14 09:02 AM | Reply

It looks like the judges got this ruling correct, based upon the way the law was written.

Hate crime laws are stupid anyway. Assault is assault. Murder is murder. Verbal assault is verbal assault. Creating a distinction and a different penalty based upon whether or not it was a 'hate crime'. is just dumb IMO. Getting punched in the face doesn't hurt less if the attacker wasn't motivated by some form of 'hatred' toward my skin color, etc.

#6 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-05-14 09:15 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I agree with JJ for a change. Hate crime laws are unnecessary at best and cruel at worst. For one thing, they purport to read the accused's mind, which belongs in the same category as lie detector tests. Secondly you are imposing extra punishment on the attacker for being retarded. Extra punishment, like the death penalty for being retarded is cruel and unusual punishment.

#7 | Posted by nutcase at 2017-05-14 09:39 AM | Reply

I partially agree with JeffJ but would this have happened if it was a man and a women, I think not, so the punishment should be more savior.

#8 | Posted by Crassus at 2017-05-14 09:48 AM | Reply

dam auto correction, should be severe.

#9 | Posted by Crassus at 2017-05-14 09:49 AM | Reply

As I think about this, I start to agree more and more with JeffJ, assault is assault, it is equal across upon all, just the severity of the penalty should lean towards the maximum.

#10 | Posted by Crassus at 2017-05-14 10:09 AM | Reply

The reason for hate crime laws is that an assault or other illegal act is directed not for personal gain, random aggression, or personal dispute but because the victim or victims belong to a sub-set of the citizenry, be it race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation.
Thus the crime becomes one which causes fear in all members of the class that they too may be singled out solely based on being members of the class.
It does not take mind reading to determine motivation as in the case cited; homophobic slurs followed by assault.
However the ruling was also correct as the law as written does not include sexual orientation as a criterion for a hate crime.
The assault was a hate crime, but due to the law not prosecutable as one.

#11 | Posted by kingcuke at 2017-05-14 11:43 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Thus the crime becomes one which causes fear in all members of the class that they too may be singled out solely based on being members of the class.

#11 | Posted by kingcuke at 2017-05-14 11:43 AM | Reply |

That's a justification that sounds reasonable on its face but that collapses under scrutiny. Random violent crime is going to scare people in a town/neighborhood just as much, if not more than, targeted violent crime. Knowing you might be attacked for your wallet is no better than knowing you might be attacked over your race is no better than knowing you might be attacked randomly, etc. The problem isn't the motive. It's the crime.

#12 | Posted by Sully at 2017-05-15 12:16 PM | Reply

Legally speaking its a good decision. Criminal laws have to be unambiguous in order to prosecute. That said, it SHOULD be a hate crime.

#13 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-05-15 01:14 PM | Reply

Thus the crime becomes one which causes fear in all members of the class that they too may be singled out solely based on being members of the class.
#11 | Posted by kingcuke at 2017-05-14 11:43 AM | Reply |
That's a justification that sounds reasonable on its face but that collapses under scrutiny. Random violent crime is going to scare people in a town/neighborhood just as much, if not more than, targeted violent crime. Knowing you might be attacked for your wallet is no better than knowing you might be attacked over your race is no better than knowing you might be attacked randomly, etc. The problem isn't the motive. It's the crime.
#12 | POSTED BY SULLY

Your analogy is bad. There is a difference between being worried about being mugged while walking through a bad neighbor at night and being worried about being assaulted anywhere because you are a member of a particular class.

#14 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-05-15 01:16 PM | Reply

Your analogy is bad. There is a difference between being worried about being mugged while walking through a bad neighbor at night and being worried about being assaulted anywhere because you are a member of a particular class.

#14 | Posted by Sycophant at 2017-05-15 01:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why would you be afraid of being attacked "anywhere" because someone is assaulting a certain race in Gooberville, WV? That doesn't make sense.

#15 | Posted by Sully at 2017-05-15 01:20 PM | Reply

political affiliation?

I hope nobody on this site lives in that State. There is a lot of written assault (without sound, I guess verbal assault doesn't fit).

This could have been a hate crime depending on whether they look republican or democrat.

Anyway, the person committing the crime couldn't have been from WV because you don't attack family.

#16 | Posted by Petrous at 2017-05-15 03:13 PM | Reply

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