(Washington) The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law.
“No one should face violence simply because of who they are,” said Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. “This bill is a critical step to erasing the hate that has devastated far too many families.”
Wednesday morning, just hours before the vote, President Obama urged Congress to pass the bill.
” I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance – legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association,” the President said in a statement. Read more Tony Northrup
Task Force Action Fund hails U.S. House passage of federal hate crimes legislation
April 29, 2009
WASHINGTON, April 29 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund hails the U.S. House's passage today of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913), which includes a key provision that would expand existing federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Task Force has been a key leader in the effort to secure an effective and full government response to hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, beginning with the launch of its groundbreaking anti-violence project in 1982, up to today's victory in the House. Get more details here about the Task Force's longtime work on hate crimes.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
“Throughout our history, this nation has sought to uphold the ideals of our founding – that all are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, with the passage of federal hate crimes legislation, we have affirmed these ideals and the inclusiveness that our nation stands for by extending the protection of its laws to all: ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’
“All Americans have a fundamental right to feel safe in their communities. This legislation will help protect Americans against violence based on sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or gender identity.
“Congress has been debating federal hate crimes legislation for 17 years. It was more than 10 years ago that Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. The time for debate is long over. I am proud that today the House has acted and in so doing, honored this nation’s commitment to the ideals of justice, equality and opportunity.” Read more