Thursday, October 29, 2009

President Obama Signs Inclusive Hate Crimes Legislation

Today President Obama sign into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, legislation that will extend new federal protections to people who are victims of violent crime because of their sex or sexual orientation. It is an update to the federal hate crimes act that Congress first passed in 1968. For the first time, the law that before it protected people from attacks motivated by race, religion or ethnicity will also protects gay, lesbian, transgender and disabled people.
The President will host a reception commemorating the performance of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the East Room of the White House this evening.
PRESIDENT OBAMA is planned to sign Wednesday what is being described as the nation's first significant pro-gay rights legislation. Attached to the defense authorization act, the measure could add sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability to the list of protected classes under the 1969 federal hate-crimes law…
The law does not outlaw bigotry or "thought crimes." It applies only to "violent acts motivated by" the characteristics of the victim - act, not thoughts or speech. But crimes that target someone because of race or sexual orientation are extra offenses against that individual. They can terrorize complete communities.


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