WASHINGTON, DC Congressman Ted Poe today issued the following statement opposing H.R. 1592:

I support equal protection and prosecution of all people under the law. I voted against the Hate Crimes Bill today because it is in direct violation of the US Constitution. The First Amendment is first for a reason the freedom of speech is the bedrock of a free nation. This bill makes the opinions and religious beliefs of designated people criminal and stifles their constitutional right to freedom of speech. Ironically, this legislation was written under the premise of protecting free speech and promoting equality, when in reality it does just the opposite. It is unconstitutional and morally wrong to place the rights of one certain group of people over those of another. All deliberate acts of violence are motivated by hate or anger towards the victim and should be prosecuted equally under the law. I support the vetoing of this bill.