2009 October 28

Matthew Sheppard And James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Act Signed Into Law


President Barack Obama on this day signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Passed in response to hate crime attacks on both Shepard and Byrd, the law made it a federal crime to the attack someone on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The law also authorized federal prosecutors to pursue cases that local authorities had declined to prosecute, and provided $5 million in federal funds to assist local authorities with hate crime investigations.

See the attack on Matthew Sheppard, on October 7, 1998, in which he was savagely beaten, tied up, and left to die.

Learn more about the law: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/crm/matthewshepard.php

Read: Gregory M Herek and Kevin Berrill, Hate Crimes: Confronting Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men (1992)

Visit the Matthew Shepard Foundation: http://www.matthewshepard.org/

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