President Obama signs The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Wednesday, October 28th 09 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised President Barack Obama today for signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.  The new law gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.  The legislation was added as a provision to the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act earlier this Summer.  For a comprehensive retrospective and historical overview of hate crimes advocacy visit:

“This law honors our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short because of hate,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “Today’s signing of the first major piece of civil rights legislation to protect LGBT Americans represents a historic milestone in the inevitable march towards equality.  Although this is a major step in fighting the scourge of hate violence, it is not the end of the road.  As a community, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to changing not only laws but also hearts and minds.  We know that hate crimes not only harm individuals, but they terrorize entire communities.  After more than a decade of advocacy, local police and sheriffs’ departments now have the full resources of the Justice Department available to them.”

Full story here.


Because two parents lost their son, it’s now feels a little bit safer to be a gay American. Because two parents were able to take their hurt and their grief and their anger and turn it into strength, courage and passion it can be a little less scary walking out the door holding your partner’s hand. One battle has been won, a battle that Dennis and Judy Shepard have been fighting for ten years. There’s still a long way to go, unfortunately, for equality. But now – because of one young man – we’re one great, huge step closer. Thank you, Dennis and Judy. Thank you so very much.


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