“Oh, it didn’t pass? OK. So we still need to pass it? OK. So we’ll try to pass that one for you, too. But that’s why we need it. And of course Obama supports that, our Congress supports that, our Senate supports that. I thought we did pass it, so we will try to get that. But that’s exactly why we need it though, because in some of the areas where gays and lesbians do feel terrorized every day, the local authorities are in league with the forces of hate. And this would, when we pass it — thanks for pointing that out — give you recourse to go to the federal government to investigate hate crimes in your area.” – Openly gay freshman Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who didn’t know that gays are not covered by federal hate crimes laws.
The Dallas Voice has the audio of Polis’ speech, during which he was corrected by the president of the Texas Stonewall Democatic Caucus. I find it rather incredible that an openly gay Congress member does not know exactly what the goals of the movement are.
UPDATE: Andy Towle has gotten a statement about the flap from Polis, which says in part:
“It’s rather remarkable to me that this is getting so much play. Obviously I am well acquainted with hate crimes laws, ENDA, DADT, and other issues facing our community but we all sometimes make mistakes when we’re speaking, especially in this case when I had just finished talking about how we in Colorado had gotten a hate-crimes law.
“I didn’t just start working on these issues when I arrived in Congress, I’ve been an active supporter of HRC for years and advocated for the hate crimes law when it was being considered in Colorado.
“There’s no excuse for the mistake, but anyone who speaks a lot is bound to make them from time to time. What surprises me is how eagerly some people have leapt on it. We are on the same side, fighting the same fight, and supporting our LGBT community, as I was in Austin for the Stonewall Dems.
Read Towleroad’s entire post on the story.