"Hate speech" should be free speech. It may not be "legitimate"—e.g., if it expresses bigotry—but it doesn't violate anyone's rights.
"Hate crimes" should not be punished differently than equivalent crimes that don't express "hate". The law properly judges actions, not motives.
This recent article by Don Watkins at the blog Voices for Reason is relevant: "'Hate Crime' laws criminalize ideas". It concludes:
answered Oct 27 '10 at 02:33