I think that 40 years is an appropriate amount of time to lock up this man for his hate crime. We need to make sure that criminals who hurt others for such ridiculous reasons are locked up for quite some time. Someone who harnesses that much hate for another human being that has not even interacted with them is truly disturbing and is likely to lead to additional attacks.
Yes the man that assaulted the gay couple should receive more time in prison. I feel that the man lashed and in anger and because he did he committed an assualt with a deadly weapon. The crime carries a minimum of a 2 year sentence, however this was premeditated and a hate crime directed at a protected class. With those factor taken into account I feel the individual should have received more prison time.
A forty year prison sentence for what amounts to an assault and battery is excessive when, according to Wikipedia, the vast majority of states impose shorter terms for those convicted of second degree murder. This seems to be a politically motivated sentencing. Whether the victims are a gay couple, or minority couple, or straight white couple, should not matter. The crime should be punished with enough force to deter future perpetrators and adequately punish the criminal, but should not be elevated to an unreasonable level over other more serious crimes, like murder. I would be in favor of the tough sentence only if we were already treating murder and other more serious crimes with harsher sentences. Since we are not, this sentence is arbitrary and unfair.
What this man did is terrible, no doubt. But it wasn't a heinous crime. It wasn't murder, dismemberment, torture, rape, or any number of crimes that warrant 40 years in prison. Yes, it was painful, mentally and physically. Yes, it was likely bigoted and hate-filled, and should most definitely be discouraged. But if we gave everyone who simply assaulted another person 40 years, then penalties for murder would mean almost nothing. The punishment should be proportional not only to the crime itself, but also other crimes. And 40 years of jail time is only warranted for the most heinous of crimes, which this is not.