712Hate Crimes Bill Signed Into Law!
- Oct 28, 2009
Long time in coming and we have really fought for this legislation. This is an historic moment. This is for the Matthew Shepherds, Paul Broussards, Lawrence Kings and a host of other people who were maimed and murdered simply for existing. They didn't die in vain.
President Obama signed legislation Wednesday criminalizing hate crimes against people for their sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. The new measure expands the scope of a 1968 law that applies to people attacked because of their race, religion or national origin. The U.S. Justice Department will have expanded authority to prosecute such crimes when local authorities don't.
The provision, called The Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is attached to a defense authorization bill. It is named after Matthew Shepard, a gay college student tortured and killed in 1998, and James Byrd Jr., a man who was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to his death the same year for being black.
Watch President Obama's comments before signing the legislation:
The Human Rights Campaign released a tribute video to Shepard's parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, for their fight to protect other gays from the kind of violence that killed their son.
HRC also has a website about the legislation, "Love Conquers Hate."