I don't beleive that so-called Hate Crimes should be considered more heinous then regular crimes. I think that these laws push us closer and closer to a kind of thought police described by George Orwell, bringing his world of 1984 much closer to reality.
Consider this scenario: A straight white male is walking down the street, when a straight white male jumps out from the bushes and hits him upside the head with a baseball bat. Plain old assault, right?
Change the first person to a person of color, and instantly, it becomes a Hate Crime. Change the person to a gay person of color and you've got a true, double-barreled hate crime. And since it's a hate crime, the penalties are harsher than for beating up a straight white man. The law punishes the criminal because of what he was thinking, in addition to what he did.
Now, if it is much worse to hit someone because the law has determined the criminal hates, what happens when someone murders someone "based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity of another individual or group of individuals?" Does the death penalty automatically kick in? Nope. (Well, except for the great State of Texas, where speeding can get you the death penalty.) Killing a straight white man and killing a homosexual person of color (either gender) get the same penalty.
Can a straight white man who hates his straight white neighbor because he plays his music loud all night long be accused of a hate crime if he kills him? I hate Michael Bolton. What if I killed him? Hate crime? Again, nope.
To commit a crime like those above indicates that you hate, or at the very least have an active disinterest in, that person. Making a person's private thoughts the basis for harsher punishments puts us on a slippery slope where disagreeing with the sitting President can be considered Treason. A thought crime is a thought crime, after all.