I've never understood the reasoning behind hate crime legislation. I personally think it's a dumb idea and suspect it's a product of those on the left who would just love to control our thoughts, biases and motivations.
I oppose the concept of "hate crimes" mainly because it seeks to punish people for their thoughts, prejudices and motives, when in reality we can only punish behavior. If someone commits murder because of racial, religious or sexual prejudice, is that somehow worse than if one commits murder because of, say, greed or jealousy? If so, why? The end result is the same - the death of a human being at the hands of another, and we already have laws against that. Years ago, two white men in east Texas killed a black man in what was clearly a racially motivated crime. This was in the days before the inception of hate crime legislation, yet the two perpetrators were given the death penalty. What else could have possibly been done to these two killers if we had had hate crime laws at the time?
I believe this is a misguided attempt to abolish bias in all forms, but it won't work. While we can pass and enforce laws related to behavior, we will never be able to control what people think, feel and believe, although I'm sure there are many out there who would like to try to do just that.