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Does a slur against someone make it a hate crime?

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The attorneys of three men charged with a felony hate crime against a gay man on the CTA tried to get out of the charges by saying that he wasn't targeted because he was gay and should therefore only be charged with aggravated battery.
Daniel Hauff was riding a CTA train last year when he came between three men attacking a gay youth.  The attackers turned their hatred on Hauff and beat him to the extent of drawing blood.  
The Sun Times today is reporting that:

Attorneys for the three said the man -- Daniel Hauff, 33, of Rogers Park -- intervened in a fight the men were involved in. They said state law says that for an incident to constitute a hate crime, a person has to be attackedbecause of his sexual orientation or race.

For at least a few minutes, Ocasio agreed that the men -- Sean Little, Kevin McAndrew and Benjamin Eder -- weren't guilty of a hate crime for that reason.

But after an exasperated Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti repeated how the men allegedly taunted Hauff as a "faggot" and asked him whether they'd get AIDS from him after he suffered a bloody nose and cuts, Ocasio reversed his decision and upheld the hate crime charges.

The comments on the Sun-Times report are very interesting and very homophobic.  What do you think?  Should these young men be charged with a felony hate crime or a simple aggravated battery because they didn't "target" Hauff because of his sexuality?

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