Portland bartender who shoved transgender woman in bathroom dispute guilty of hate crime, jury rules – oregonlive.com:

An off-duty bartender who ordered a patron not to use the women’s bathroom and shoved the woman when she tried to explain her gender identity was found guilty of second-degree bias crime and harassment charges Wednesday.

The facts of this story are only mildly in dispute. They make no difference to the case I’ve long made: Hate crime laws are unconstitutional. 

Let’s dispense with the stupid stuff first. Maybe off-duty bartenders shouldn’t have a drink and confront patrons with whom they disagree. Disagreeing with somebody, whatever their sex or “gender identity,” over a single-use bathroom is nuts. Who cares who uses a single-use bathroom? And even if you do disagree and think this is your moment to shine, maybe lets not push the person. 

So harassment and assault are on the table, and nobody should have a problem with that. 

Where I object is the notion of “bias crime.” No matter which way you turn this around either the defendant is being punished for her beliefs or the plaintiff is being singled out for extra legal protection for belonging to a certain group. Neither amount to equality under the law. 

As I’ve said before, you believe some stupid things. So do I. And we both have that right. Maybe you believe some heinous things. Maybe I do too. We also have the right. When the government punishes belief, they violate the core of individual liberty, no matter what beliefs they might be punishing. That’s both un-American and unconstitutional.