CommunityPam's House Blend

'Matthew Shepard Act' introduced in Senate

Yesterday the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, or hate crimes bill, was introduced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR). It was renamed the ‘Matthew Shepard Act’ in honor of the 21-year-old who died (over eight years ago!) in Laramie, Wyoming. Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, was at the ceremony. (HRC):

“Dennis and I are deeply honored that Senators Smith and Kennedy have renamed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act the `Matthew Shepard Act.’ This is a beautiful tribute to our son and his memory,” said Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and mother of Matthew Shepard.

“After eight and a half years since Matthew’s death, his memory continues to be a ringing reminder, even at the highest levels of our government, about the need for this legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It is our hope that Congress will finally pass the Matthew Shepard Act and Judy Shepard will have stood at her last press conference on Capitol Hill pleading with our elected leaders to pass this critical piece of legislation.”

HRC has a slide show of photos by Lynn Johnson that tells the stories of those who have been the victims of hate crimes.

You can  take action to urge passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Meanwhile, we have to combat brain-dead, alarmist rants like this one up on Daddy D’s CitizenLink:

Homosexual advocates who support the bill say violence against homosexuals is on the rise. They contend 14 percent of the 1,000 hate crimes reported in 2005 were due to sexual orientation.

“They claim that this is an epidemic, [but] one third of the `hate crime’s statistics’ are for `name-calling,’ ” Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, told Family News in Focus. “This is not a reason to bring in the federal government. The ultimate objective is to use the [prosecution] of hate speech against people of faith.”

Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America said the bill would favor one class of crime victims over another.

It elevates a certain people group based on their chosen sexual behaviors-homosexuals and so-called transgenders-to a higher level of status in our society,” Barber said, “so that they are considered a more valuable victim.”

* HRC jabs Concerned Women for America, thanking the org for ‘supporting’ hate crimes legislation

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding