Marco McMillian an openly gay mayoral candidate found dead

Hate crimes and LGBT rights in the south

Marco McMillian an openly gay mayoral candidate found dead

Marco McMillian an openly gay mayoral canididate found dead

Marco McMillian was an openly gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi before he was murdered by a man who some say was because of a disagreement. Local media in Mississippi are ignoring the fact that hate crimes still occur in Mississippi and are insisting by reporting that the two men both of whom are black is not a hate crime.

Still, in a state that doesn’t protects it’s LGBT community because of a limited civil rights law, how can the media rule out and not report this as a possible hate crime. However, local Sheriff have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime but have yet to investigate as such.

A spokesman for the Sheriff stated that; “As this is an ongoing investigation, every possibility is being examined at this time.”

Marco McMillian prior to his death was beaten, dragged and burned as stated by McMillian’s family in a statement. Still, with Mississippi’s extremely limited laws towards the LGBT community even if charged as a hate crime. No specific or additional punishments will be added if it is indeed found to be an anti-gay motivated crime.

Some are even saying that Reed, the man who is being accused in McMillian’s death was motivated because McMillian hit on him. The same excuse defense lawyers used while arguing their case in the Matthew Shepard case. “That’s the case that birthed the Hate Crimes act,” Hayley Gorenberg a lawyer with Lamba Legal a firm that dedicates itself in fighting for the LGBT community.

Sharon Lettman-Hicks a head of the National Black civil rights group recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a federal government investigation.

McMillian was one of seven Democrats running for the Clarksdale Mayoral position and he vowed to boost college graduation rates. McMillian believed that if graduation rates went up then income levels and employment will follow. McMillian did not discuss the issue of him being gay while running. The climate in and around Mississippi just is not one for an openly gay or lesbian and the law to protect them is extremely limited.

With the death of McMillian and the limited gay rights laws especially in the south, many in the LGBT community who live in the south are forced to live closeted lives or move north or west. Many hate crimes go unreported and when they are reported they are almost never reported as a hate crime. It can be concluded that those in Mississippi and in the south are in denial about the prejudices that go on in their communities.

-Kelly J Newson