The Democratic-lead Senate vote to expand the hate crimes definition to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation, or, the victims' disability. The vote was 60 to 39. The Senate version was attached to the defense authorization bill. The House has previously passed a hate crimes bill.
Opponents of extending federal protections to gays and lesbians immediately predict it “ultimately would fail either in negotiations with the House or by presidential veto. 'The president is not going to agree to this social legislation on the defense authorization bill’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. ‘This bill will get vetoed.’”
The 60 vote passage will not override a presidential veto, but, the vote shows progress on several fronts. The entire Democratic—and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)—united behind this bill. "Nine Republicans were among the 60 senators who voted to support the amendment: GOP co-sponsor Gordon Smith of Oregon, Sens. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Susan Collins of Maine, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John Warner of Virginia and George Voinovich of Ohio." Collins is facing a tough re-election campaign but has previously voted for this legislation. Coleman is also vulnerable next fall.
Predictably, Idaho toe tapper Larry Craig did not support this measure, along with the very! straight! Lindsey Graham (SC) and Mitch McConnell (KY). Republican presidential candidate John McCain (AZ) was the only Senator to abstain.