Friday, October 23, 2009

Hate Crimes legislation approved by Congress

It now goes to President Obama, who has promised to sign it.

According to HRC, the largest GLBT organization in the US, this was the "first major piece of civil rights legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."

From CNN:
The Senate passed groundbreaking legislation Thursday that would make it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay teenager who was beaten to death in 1998.

The expanded federal hate crimes law now goes to President Obama's desk. Obama has pledged to sign the measure, which was added to a $680 billion defense authorization bill.

President George W. Bush had threatened to veto a similar measure.

The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teenager who died after being kidnapped and severely beaten in October 1998, and James Byrd Jr., an African-American man dragged to death in Texas the same year.

"Knowing that the president will sign it, unlike his predecessor, has made all the hard work this year to pass it worthwhile," said Judy Shepard, board president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation named for her son. "Hate crimes continue to affect far too many Americans who are simply trying to live their lives honestly, and they need to know that their government will protect them from violence, and provide appropriate justice for victims and their families."
Finally some progress on our behalf at the federal level.

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