We live in a system that has said we can't be punished for what we think and believe, only for what we do. Hate crime legislation punishes people differently based on what they think and believe - for WHY they do what they do. It is that simple to me, so I don't support hate crime legislation.
If my wife or daughter is raped or killed, I don't want a white perpetrator to get a lighter sentence than a black man who was shouting racial slurs because my wife or daughter is a white woman. I also don't want a Baptist perpetrator shouting religious bigotry to be punished more harshly just because my wife or daughter is Mormon.
There is a MUCH deeper reason, however, that I am appalled by hate crimes legislation - and I choose the word "appalled" carefully and consciously.
I want a lesbian, drug-addicted prostitute of any race or ethnicity to be viewed under the law exactly in the same manner as my wife or daughter - and I want someone who murders that prostitute in order to steal her money punished exactly the same as someone who murders her because she is lesbian or a different race or drug-addicted. None of those things makes her life less valuable or important, and the absence of those things doesn't makes my wife's or daughter's life more valuable or important, either.
I believe they are equal in the eyes of God and should be treated as equal under the law, as well - no matter WHY the perpetrator of a crime did what he did.
(I also should note explicitly that I chose the above characterizations strictly because of the way they are viewed by many people in society. I am NOT equating being lesbian with being a drug addict or with being a prostitute.)