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    Vol.63/No.11           March 22, 1999 
Protest Antigay Killing In Alabama  
The following are excerpts of a statement issued by Ardella Blandford, the Socialist Workers candidate for mayor in Birmingham, Alabama.

I urge all working people and supporters of democratic rights to condemn the brutal murder of Bill Jack Gaither and to demand that his killers be swiftly brought to justice.... Gaither was lynched because he was gay, much as James Byrd, Jr. was lynched by racists in Jasper, Texas....

President William Clinton and other Democratic and Republican politicians are urging us to channel our outrage over Gaither's murder into a lobbying effort to pass more "hate crimes" legislation. They tell us if sexual orientation is added to current laws against "hate crimes," it will be easier to prosecute assailants of gays and lesbians. But why should we have to have special laws to protect someone who is gay? Why can't the government guarantee equal protection under the law now to protect working people who are gay, or Black, or immigrants?

The root of antigay violence is not emotions like hatred. The root is political. It is spawned by a system that seeks to scapegoat Blacks, gays, immigrants, women who have abortions, and Jews as the source of the social and economic crisis we face, rather than the capitalist system whose drive for profits demands greater and greater exploitation and brutalization of working people. It is spawned by government attacks on democratic rights, like the recent slaying of West African immigrant Amadou Diallo, cut down by 41 police bullets in New York. Actions such as these embolden rightists like the two men who allegedly admit to murdering Gaither.

What's needed to push back these thugs is more actions in the streets to show that working people will not tolerate their terror - whether it be directed at gays, Blacks, immigrant workers, or doctors performing abortions. That's the strongest way to bring these terrorists to justice.  
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