Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Victim to see
hate crime bill signed

Associated Press

Martin Rice, one of about 20 gay campers attacked at Kauai's Polihale Beach last month, plans to be present tomorrow when Gov. Ben Cayetano signs a hate crimes bill into law.

Rice said that aside from his being among those attacked in what Kauai police described as an anti-gay hate crime, he lobbied lawmakers to approve the measure earlier this year.

"I've been working behind the scenes to get this done," he said yesterday.

Two Kauai teenagers have been charged with attempted first-degree murder and other felony counts for the May 26 attack in which several campers' tents were set on fire.

The longer sentences for hate crimes provided in the bill, however, cannot be applied to the Kauai case. Rice said he is not sure if any of the other campers will attend the bill signing.

Holly Huber of the Civil Unions-Civil Rights Movement said some participants in January's 110-mile "March for Equality" around Oahu to remember victims of hate crimes plan to attend.

Cayetano said he decided to sign the bill because it is important for government to make a statement on the issue. That decision came the day before the attack. The measure applies to crimes motivated by the victim's race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation.

Opponents contend the bill is intended to validate a homosexual lifestyle.

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