Gay rights advocates rally in Montgomery to expand hate crime law

MONTGOMERY, AL (WAFF) - Gay rights advocates rallied around the state capital on Sunday hoping lawmakers will change the hate crime law in Alabama.

They surrounded the state capitol all for the same reason. To remember Billy Jack Gaither and other hate crime victims.  Gaither was brutally stabbed and beaten. His body was burned on a pile of tires.  Prosecutors said he was targeted because he was gay. Now, advocates want something done about this problem.

"We're pushing for an inclusion in the hate crime legislation that Alabama has. Right now it does not include crimes based upon someone's perception of sexual orientation or their gender," said Robinson.

James Robinson is the director for the GLBT Community; he said they've tried changing the law several times. However, it failed each time.

"With the political trend in this state we could not even get it discussed," said Robinson.

State Representative Patricia Todd will be introducing the bill again in the current legislative session.  Todd is the first openly gay state lawmaker.

Robinson said even though the vigil happened in Montgomery, everyone needs to be aware of this issue.

"We need to be concerned because it may not be you, everyone whether they know it or not is very close to someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender," said Robinson.

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