The Matthew Shephard Bill Has Passed the U.S. Senate- Violence Against LGBT Americans will soon be a Federal Crime.
Tonight, the United States Senate has passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. As soon as President Obama signs this bill , it will be put into law. The bill was attached to a defense appropriation bill as a clever procedural motion to allow some Republicans a "fig leaf" when voting for it - the bill passed 67 - 28. The new law makes it a Federal Crime to commit acts of violence against someone based on sexual orientation. Young Matthew Shepherd lost his life because he was attacked by people who hated gays. Now his violent death will now not have been in vain. His attack first triggered the work on this landmark legislation. The United States has a long way to go with LGBT rights but today represents a milestone in our struggle for equality.