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House Passes Matthew Shepard Act

Posted on Apr 29, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, on Wednesday. Similar but weaker legislation had failed two years ago in the face of opposition from President Bush. Before Wednesday’s vote, Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx created a stir by taking issue with the bill’s name, claiming Shepard’s murder in 1998 didn’t constitute a hate crime.

Political Intelligence in The Boston Globe:

The House this afternoon passed an expanded hate crimes bill that would protect gay victims, and its chief sponsor in the Senate called for prompt final action.

The measure passed 249-175 over the objections of conservatives, the Associated Press reports.

The bill—named for Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998—is a stronger version of a bill that died two years ago under a veto threat from President Bush.

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By youraveragejoe, May 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

“Hate crime” is a quintessential Liberal construct.  As if a crime against me isn’t any less important.
Affirmative action is more worthy of a crime against the “affirmative action candidate” as well as the innocent victim.

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By Brunson, May 3, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment
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To Outraged….

Yes the door does swing both ways, so does this now mean that if someone who were gay were to call me an offensive name, like “breeder,” or a black person were to call me “honky” or “white boy” or “heffer” etc .. these are the nicer names, could I then pursue them for a hate crime.  Afterall the door does go BOTH ways, and what is fair is fair, or is this just another liberal one sided deal.

And as far as the free speech in church goes, what this law does is enable anyone that preaches Leviticus out of the Bible where it does state that homosexuality is an abomination can now be prosecuted.  That hardly seems fair, yet there are churches and preachers that preach hate that are black or other minority races, such as the infamous Rev Wright.  But do they get prosecuted, no, but have a white man say it and they get prosecuted.  Very one sided.

And for those that do not know, Bush did not veto this bill, what he did say he “might” veto was Kennedy’s bill on the hate crimes act which he attached as an amendment to the DOD’s (dept of defense)Defense Reauthorization Bill, which would then make soldiers that kill in battle possibly held liable for hate crimes violations.  Which is simply ridiculous.  But of course it’s far easier to say Bush vetoed the Matthew Shepard Act without telling the entire truth in order to get more people on the Democrat side.

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By hippie4ever, May 2, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

Somebody gave Foxx enough rope and there she swings, but hardly alone. How halarious is Boehner’s hysteria that ministers will be denied free speech? I can imagine the kind of religious zealots to whom he refers, and the hateful twisted venom that spews from their lips. There was a Baptist minister in my neighbourhood who regularly raged on against gays and after every sermon, every man was at risk. Finally some African-American gay men spoke to the minister and it stopped, probably because the jerk thought being gay was a “white boy” thing. There are many “Christian” ministers and priests who stoop to this type of crime, inciting teenagers and young men of their church to beat up “fags” because they’re Satanic or whatever. In a democracy such individuals would be charged as instigators of criminal activity, or even conspiracy. I’m not holding my breath…but this law is huge, and may make a difference, and I’m happy for Mrs. Shepard as well. Finally the poor woman can have some closure.

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By Jim Yell, May 1, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment
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It wouldn’t be necessary to pass such laws if there weren’t people and groups of people who believe that they have the right to interfer with other peoples lives, when clearly it is none of their business.

For two centuries in this country laws seldom were enforced if the victims were black people who were attacked by white people. This behavior was encouraged by the main line churches of the day and now we hear people opposed to a law to ensure that these crimes will not go unanswered for it is an attack on the perpetrators “freedom of Speech”.

Well this is wrong. If a person by action or verbal encouragement causes another to commit a crime than they are as guilty or more so than the one who commits the crime. It is time these hateful and narrow minded people are shown there are limits to tolerating this encouragement to violence. Lock them up and start with the Rev. Phelps family, another fine example of why the older I get the less respect I have for the religous and throw in the pope for good measure.

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By Outraged, April 30, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

Virginia Foxx is mean.  Her comments along with all the other idiot “amendments” the repubs. invented really illuminate their viciousness and denial.  Most likely she’s just cranky because she’ll have to watch her mouth and you know hard that is for ol’ bitties.  Of course, apparently its equally as hard for a measureable percent of hateful cranks, from The New York Daily News:

I am particularly concerned about the implications this legislation would have on religious groups expressing their beliefs,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner. “Simply put, this bill is not only a threat to the constitutional principle of equal justice under the law, but to religious freedom of speech as well.

So…. what’s Boehner’s point?  Is he saying it would be OK if groups formed to “preach” that christians are evil, sick and deserve to die?  Because of course the road DOES GO both ways?

From Politio:
Boehner told the paper:

He attacked Democratic initiatives such as a “hate crimes” bill being considered this week in the House, which would boost the federal government’s authority to go after “bias-motivated violence.” Conservative critics say the bill amounts to a gag rule for preachers and other religious figures who do not support homosexuality.

The bill “makes me want to throw up,” Mr. Boehner said, blasting the idea of going after someone for “what we think they were thinking as opposed to what they did.”

Many conservative clergy members believe the measure would restrict their ability to express opposition to gay, lesbian and transgender sexually activity, which they deem immoral.

It seems the only “clergy” upset about this are the ones who don’t actually follow the christian tenets that Jesus taught.  They have a right to preach, but they do not have a right to a BULLY PULPIT.  I’m curious as to Boehner’s and Foxx’s assessment of the act’s protection of women and the disabled, or do they see these groups as “undesirables” too.

My thanks to all who voted for passage of this bill and to House Leader Steny Hoyer’s comment.

“Hate crimes motivated by race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and identity or disability not only injure individual victims, but also terrorize entire segments of our population and tear at our nation’s social fabric,” Hoyer said.

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By tomack, April 30, 2009 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Well, Representative Foxx, if it wasn’t a hate crime what was it? An act of love and affection? An act of Christian “tolerance”? What a moron. Does she not understand the amount of pent up emotion needed to tie someone to a fence and beat them to death for a sustained period of time? To repeatedly beat someone beyond unconsciousness carries with it an emotional content that can only be described as hate. That is most decidedly beyond the realm of your every day aggravated assualt…with intent.

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By Kanamachi, April 30, 2009 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

This is long over due. Now I hope that the law will be enforced. For people like Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx claims that Shepard’s murder in 1998 didn’t constitute a hate crime, we need to send a message that that sort of bigotry is no longer welcomed nor tolerated. The Constitution gave rights to all but even today, millions of Americans of all colors still do not enjoy egual rights. Americans should be ashamed!

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