Hate Crimes Legislation Headed to President Obama's Desk
Some very good news today -- hate crimes protections for the LGBT community is on its way to the President's desk. The Senate voted for cloture on the defense authorization conference report and then passed the full report with the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act attached. The cloture vote was 64-35 with Hatch absent, and our side picked up Collins, Snowe, Murkowski, Voinovich and Lugar. Feingold voted no for reasons related to Afghanistan.
I wrote awhile back about complaints in the LGBT community around how hate crimes was done, that it is attached to the defense bill. I debunked that at the time, but want to emphasize that when the President signs this, not only will it get some good press to Americans who don't know about its importance, but will do a lot of good for the LGBT community. In the end, with a crowded plate for Congress and advocates, the most important thing is getting as much done as possible, and we can check this off our list.
And a special congratulations to Judy Shepard, who has been fighting this long, long fight since 1998.