President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act into law today…
Those who say they see no difference between Democrats and Republicans or who think that President Obama is governing no differently than Johnny McCain would have need only look at this two minutes and twenty-four seconds of video. This would not have happened in a Republican administration. Not in a million years.
Civil rights leaders praise Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act
CHEYENNE-More than 11 years after University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was tortured and left to die on a fence post outside Laramie, President Obama signed legislation Wednesday extending federal hate crime law to cover attacks based on sexual orientation.
Civil rights leaders, including Matthew’s mother Judy Shepard, said the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act gives long-overdue protection to people attacked because of their sexual orientation.
However, Wyoming’s congressional delegation [Ed.: all Republican; all three of them] have opposed the legislation, saying current state laws already work to punish those who commit violent acts against gays and lesbians.
The legislation gives federal authorities power to pursue charges in violent crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
The bill has been in the works since 1998, when Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student from Casper, was robbed, tortured, and murdered by Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. Both are currently serving two consecutive life sentences in prison.
Jill Shepard, who watched President Obama sign the legislation Wednesday at the White House, said in a statement that she and her husband Dennis were glad to finally see the bill pass.
“When Dennis and I started calling 10 years ago for federal action to prevent and properly prosecute hate crimes against gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans, we never imagined it would take this long,” Shepard said in the statement. “We are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly.
Jill Shepard added, “But each of us can and must do much more to ensure true equality for all Americans.”
President Obama’s remarks at a reception held to celebrate the legislation follow the break.
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