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House Judiciary Committee Passes Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The House Judiciary Committee today passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act) by a vote of 15-12.

Shepard The Washington Blade reported yesterday that debate of the bill saw "an onslaught of hostile moves" intended to bog down the legislation: "There was protracted discussion in committee Wednesday of several amendments to the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The measure is intended, among other things, to allow the Justice Department to assist in the prosecution of hate crimes committed against LGBT people that result in death or serious injury. Amendments offered by the committee's Republican members, though, sought to include unborn children, military members and pregnant women in the measure. Another proposed amendment sought to strip passages regarding 'gender identity' from the bill. The amendments were voted down."

Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, released a statement which read, in part: "Laws ultimately reflect a nation’s values, and this legislation, once passed, will send a strong message that America rejects all forms of hate violence, including bias-motivated crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This committee vote marks the beginning of the end of a long-fought battle. We are pleased that President Obama has expressed support for this critical legislation by announcing he will sign the bill when it comes to his desk. We hope the administration will play a role in assisting with the measure’s passage in both the House and Senate."

A vote on the House floor could occur as soon as next week.

Earlier this week, I posted an important message from Judy Shepard aobut this legislation. I've re-posted it again, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I guess we will see how many democrats in the house/senate are actually with us. It could be a good tool to predict votes on similar legislation.

    I expect a near universal no vote from republicans.

    Posted by: samwise | Apr 23, 2009 4:02:48 PM

  2. If any Democrat in either house votes "no" on this legislation, they should be the subject of our community's greatest scorn. There is NO excuse to be against this.

    I'd like to see if those Republican Senators from Maine and a few others show how "moderate" they really are and support this bill.

    Posted by: Bruno | Apr 23, 2009 4:14:35 PM

  3. Any roll call vote record of the committee vote?

    Posted by: Tom in Lazybrook | Apr 23, 2009 8:37:48 PM

  4. Faith & civil rights leaders from some of the nation's largest organizations will hold a press conference call next Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. Eastern time to urge Congress to pass the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. If you're interested in joining on the call, I encourage you to email Maggie at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights ( for call-in information!

    Posted by: Kate B. | Apr 24, 2009 4:14:58 PM

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