Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I have never really been a big fan of "hate crimes" ...meaning that I am not sure there should be a different crimes. But, if we are going to have Hate Crime Laws then Sexual orientation must be included and it is long past time for this bill to become law.

House passes hate crimes bill
Posted: 05:35 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday expanding federal protection against hate crimes to disability, gender, and
sexual orientation.

The bill, which was approved by a margin of 249-175, passed in a sharply-divided partisan vote. An overwhelming majority of Democrats supported the measure, while most Republicans were opposed.

The proposal, which now moves to the Senate for further consideration, is one of the most sensitive civil rights issues to come before the Congress in years. Currently, federal law covers only a person's race, religion, or national origin.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would also expand federal protection against hate crimes to acts committed under any circumstance, as opposed to acts committed only when an individual is engaged in certain federally-designated activities, such as voting.

Known as the Matthew Shepard Act, the measure would allow the attorney general to issue grants to cities and states for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.

Shepard was a gay student at the University of Wyoming who died in 1998 after being attacked because of his sexual orientation.

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