The hate-crimes debate in 1999, inspired in part by James Byrd’s horrifying murder, included yet another effort to pass an effective law in Texas. The key player: George W. Bush.
Texas already had a hate-crimes law, passed in 1993 — which was in fact the source of the problem. Passed amid a rancorous debate over the inclusion of sexual orientation as a bias category, it was watered down so that law defined a hate crime by referring to the selection of victims “because of the defendant
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