Tug a Scarf, Go to Prison

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on November 20, 2009

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal.com’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

Tug a Scarf, Go to Prison
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on a “hate crime”:

Amal Abusumayah was paying for groceries at the Jewel store at 17117 S. Harlem Ave. in Tinley Park on Nov. 7 when she felt a sharp tug on her headscarf. When she looked at who had pulled her hijab, she saw a woman who moments before had made a derogatory comment about Islam.

On Wednesday, Tinley Park police announced that Valerie Kenney, 54, has been charged with a hate crime, a felony that carries a possible sentence of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

There’s no defending Kenney’s alleged behavior, which sounds like disorderly conduct at least, but the charge and prospective penalty are grotesquely disproportionate unless there is more to the story. The Sun-Times adds that the Council of American Islamic Relations “has reached out to the FBI to pursue federal charges.” Let’s hope the FBI promises to get back to them as soon as terrorism and other violent crime have been eliminated.

Take My Wife–Please
Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Democratic candidate for attorney general of Texas, is running on an unusual platform. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that she accuses the incumbent, Republican Greg Abbott, of outlawing marriage in the state.

It seems that Abbott drafted a 2005 constitutional amendment intended to prevent same-sex marriage:

The amendment, approved by the Texas Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by Texas voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the trouble-making phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Radnofsky argues that since marriage itself is “identical or similar to marriage,” the legal effect of the amendment is to prohibit the state from recognizing marriage.

There’s no doubt that this is a clever argument, but we’re not so sure it’s a wise one. Has it occurred to Radnofsky that there may be a lot of people who favor such a measure but don’t dare say so lest their wives find out?

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