Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was brutally murder in Cayey, Puerto Rico last week; Mercado was a victim of a violent hate crime because of his sexual orientation and gender expression. The accused murderer is believed to claim a “gay panic” defense.

CNN writes of Mercado murder, “He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso.” However, what is also disturbing was the callus attitude of the chief police officer on the case, “The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that ‘people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen’”.

In another CCN article they write that,
According to Telemundo and other local reports, Martinez Matos confessed to authorities that he picked Lopez Mercado up from the street, thinking that he was a woman.

When he realized that Lopez Mercado was a man, Martinez Matos said he regressed to an incident when he was sexually assaulted during a prison term, Telemundo and local reports said.
There is no excuse for murdering someone and I hope that Matos is charged with hate crime under the new federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This is a hate crime! When a person is murdered the way Mercado was murder, it was done out if hate, prejudice and bigotry.

There are a number of people who do not believe in the hate crime laws; they believe that all murders are done of anger, or that the laws interfere with religious freedom. Some believe that to single out a subculture for special treatment in the eyes of the law is wrong, that a murder by a bank robber should be treated the same as chopping up a trans or gay person. That hate crime laws prohibit religious leaders from speaking out again marriage equality or condemning LGBT people for what they believe as a “sinful lifestyle.”

In the eyes of the law, motive and intent are taking into account in most crimes of violence. If in a bar, someone pushes another person out of the way and that person falls and hit their head and dies, then that is usually treated a manslaughter. They did mean to harm the other person but it did result in a death. If two people get into a fight in a bar and one person picks up a beer bottle and hits the other person over the head with the bottle and he dies, then that is treated as a worst offense then the first case. Or if they are fighting and one person leaves, and then returns with a gun to kill the other person, it is then premeditated murder. The same is true for a hate crime, motive and intent is taken into account, it is not enough to murder a LGBT person but the motive and intent must be proven to be because of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition, hate crimes also intimidates the subculture. When a victim’s body is mutilated and burned it is a message of hate and oppression that effects the entire LGBT community.

Religious leaders can preach hate and damnation all they want and it is not a hate crime. They can oppose marriage equality and it is not a hate crime. They can tell their followers to refuse to serve gay couples in restaurants or wait on them in stores it maybe discrimination, but it is not a hate crime. It is only a hate crime when a fist meets a person face because they are LGBT.

No comments:

Post a Comment