Posted on Oct 9, 2009
The House has voted to strengthen the definition of hate crimes to include those carried out on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation, marking a step toward protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people under the federal statute. The bill still needs to go through the Senate and be signed by President Obama.
The New York Times:
The House voted Thursday to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, a step that would extend new protection to lesbian, gay and transgender people.
Democrats hailed the vote of 281 to 146, which brought the measure to the brink of becoming law, as the culmination of a long push to curb violent expressions of bias like the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student.
“Left unchecked, crimes of this kind threaten to ruin the very fabric of America,” said Representative Susan A. Davis, Democrat of California, a leading supporter of the legislation.
The bill was named in part for Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming youth who was killed for being gay.