A Pants on Fire claim about hate crimes bill

Rep. Steve King explained his amendment to the hate crimes bill in a Fox News Channel interview with Sean Hannity.

With the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act moving swiftly through Congress, and President Barack Obama committed to sign it, opponents have ratcheted up their rhetoric and complained about a provision that would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the list of hate crime categories.

In a Fox News interview on May 6, 2009, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said the "sexual orientation" wording would provide "special protection to pedophiles."

"The definition for sexual orientation was defined by one of the principal authors, Tammy Baldwin of Madison, Wisconsin, as being either heterosexual or homosexual. Well, so within that definition, though, of sexual orientation by the American Psychological Association you've got a whole list of proclivities — they call them paraphilias — and in that list, among them are pedophiles.

"And so I don't want special protective status for a pedophile when a regular person would get less — lesser protection under this law. ... This sets up sacred cows in this legislation. So some people are protected more than others in this society."

King was so concerned about that possibility that he sought to amend the bill to specifically exclude pedophiles.

On the House floor on April 29, 2009, King argued that the lack of a definition of "sexual orientation" in the law would open the door to special protections for people with all kinds of deviant sexual proclivities.

"My amendment does not specifically define sexual orientation, although I've tried to do that," King said. "But what it does do is say it doesn't include pedophiles because I think the intent of this committee is clearly that we don't want to provide a, let's just say, a sexual — a special protected status for pedophiles. There are others that I would put in that list as well, but this is the one that stands out to me that should be beyond question that this committee should be able to take a look at this amendment and conclude that whatever we might think about proclivities, pedophiles is not one that should be included."

We talked to legal experts about whether the bill really does provide special protection for pedophiles and found King's claim Pants on Fire wrong .