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Hate crimes against gays on the rise in Florida

Do you think Jeb is losing any sleep over this? (

Hate crimes reported in Florida dropped except for those perpetrated against gays and lesbians during 2003, according to a report released Monday by Attorney General Charlie Crist.

…The state began compiling hate crime data beginning with 1991. Since then, race has been a factor in more than half of all hate crimes in every year but 2001. That year, a spike in crimes against Muslims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks significantly increased crimes motivated by ethnicity and religion.

The number of crimes motivated by the victim’s ethnicity rose by seven, from 44 in 2002.

Meanwhile, the percentage of hate crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation reached its highest level – 20 percent. That compares to a low of 2.8 percent in 1996, when only six hate crimes related to sexual orientation were reported.

It becomes more and more clear with each passing year that there’s a problem in Florida when it comes to protecting gay and lesbian people,’ said Brian Winfield, a spokesman for Equality Florida.

There’s probably little chance the Republican-dominated Legislature will pass laws in the upcoming year to protect gays, but many cities and counties are doing so, said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding