Friday, October 23, 2009

Senate passes hate crimes law with sexual orientation language

Both the House and the Senate have passed an update to federal hate crimes laws:

The measure would extend the current definition of federal hate crimes -- which covers attacks motivated by race, color, religion or national origin -- to include those based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It also would make it a federal crime to attack U.S. military personnel because of their service.

The [Senate] measure was approved, 68 to 29, with a majority of Republicans voting against it. The House passed the same bill Oct. 8, also with most Republicans opposed....

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is named for Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998, and Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death behind a pickup truck in Texas in 1998. Shepard's family founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which helped lobby for the measure. Offered repeatedly by the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the bill had stalled previously in the Senate, and President George W. Bush vowed to veto it if it reached his desk.

But Obama said he plans to sign the measure, a key moment for a president who has been subject to criticism from some gay and lesbian activists who say he has not pushed hard enough for their agenda. Obama has vowed to do so, and said he will repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

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Blogger TomS said...

I have such mixed reactions...

Of course I am THRILLED that the hate-crimes bill has passed. Now if we can get an employment non-
discrimination bill passed, then repeal of DADT is a moot point.

And yet...

Amid all of the celebration, there was almost no mention of the fact that the bill commits billions of dollars to the conflict in Iraq....

6:13 PM  

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