In our culture, being gay is seen as a choice by many people. This makes people feel better about mistreating or attacking gay men and women. A larger percentage of gays in America are mistreated because of their sexual orientation than any other group of people. It is wrong to hate people because of one quality and should be punished more harshly.
No, gays and lesbians do not need hate crime protections, because there are already laws in place to protect them. Gays and lesbians who are the targets of hate crime can find relief in laws against assault and battery, harassment, and malicious destruction of property. There do not need to be special laws just for them.