The NYT reports on the indictment of Dharun Ravi, the Rutgers student who invaded the privacy of his roommate Tyler Clementi. Clementi, who subsequently murdered himself, was gay, which gives rise to a theory that his roommate was motivated by anti-gay sentiment and — this is much more difficult — the belief that Ravi — who is only 19 years old — ought to go to prison for at least 5 to 10 years. If his behavior were not portrayed it as a "hate crime," the punishment, according to the article, would probably be probation.
Ravi, it should be noted, did not kill Clementi.
Ravi was an ass. He tweeted: "I saw him making out with a dude. Yay." Imagine if he'd used the webcam, caught Clementi kissing a female and tweeted "I saw him making out with a girl. Yay." Would that have been a dramatically different crime, justifying the difference between probation and 5 years in prison? The invasion of privacy is serious, but I don't see the seriousness differing depending on whether or not Clementi was gay. And I don't think people who care about the feelings of gay people ought to play out their politics on Ravi, who deserves what he deserves and nothing more.