In the mid-‘80s, Mike Hogan was walking with a friend and his friend's dog in broad daylight in his Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle when a group of university students approached them, acting interested in the dog.
“They asked what the dog’s name was, and I told them his name was Joseph. They started saying ‘Joseph is a f****t’s name. Joseph is a f****t,'" Hogan recalled.
The drunk young men started to charge at them just as a patrol car pulled up. The police wrote them up. They were later released in pre-trial diversions.
The incident and several more like it caused Hogan to research hate crime ordinances. Hogan approached his boss at the time, King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng, about amending the malicious harassment statute to extend protection to gays and lesbians who were victims of hate crimes, which Maleng helped pass.
Our laws protect speech, Hogan says, even vulgar, offensive speech. But the law does not protect menacing speech that is intended to intimate, vex or threaten evil on someone. Today, malicious harassment and hate crimes in King County are on the rise, not only for gays and lesbians, but also for religious groups and various racial groups including those of Arab descent.
Hogan, photographed with his dog, Lucky, is at one of Capitol Hill’s 11 rainbow crosswalks.
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