Defense bill passes without Sen. Shelby

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSFA) - Alabama's Senator Richard Shelby (R) voted no Thursday on a defense bill that would have given support to the armed forces.

Shelby said the reason for his 'no' vote had nothing to do with the military, but with the "extraneous provisions" within the bill, namely hate crimes legislation.

Alabama's senior senator issued a statement saying, "Hate crimes legislation would set up different classes of people for special protection under the law - a clear violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause - and impose an impossibly subjective standard in attempting to assess a criminal's motives."

Shelby said the proper place for such legislation was in open debate on the Senate floor, "not tucked away by Congressional leadership in legislation that we must enact in order to properly support our armed forces."

The senator went on to say regardless of a criminal's motives, justice should be tough. "We should not play politics with legislation affecting our warfighters."

A majority of the Senate voted for cloture of the bill, a termination of debate by calling for a vote.

The bill now goes to President Barack Obama who is expected to sign it into law.

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