Barack Obama | Crime | Judy Shepard | Matthew Shepard | News

Watch: Obama Remarks on Passage of Hate Crimes Law


President Obama made remarks late today on the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Bill, which he signed into law earlier this afternoon.


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  1. God I hate Wolf Schzlier.

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Oct 28, 2009 9:02:53 PM

  2. Bless the Sheppard and Byrd families.

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Oct 28, 2009 9:04:31 PM

  3. Cyndi Lauper was there too!! She actually spoke with Obama after he signed the bill. What a great lady!! Thank you Judy & Dennis and thank you Cyndi for all your support!!!!!! What a great day for the LGBT Community!!!

    Posted by: Eric | Oct 28, 2009 10:03:39 PM

  4. I would love to know the reason James Byrd Jr.'s name was added to the bill. Though his murder was tragic, shameful and horrendous, it was already covered by existing hate-crimes laws and the bill signed into law today has absolutely nothing to do with his case. The new law adds sexual orientation, gender and gender identity to the existing law that already protected people based on race, religion and other designations.

    I can only wonder if Byrd's name was added so that people could vote for it without having to honor Shepard or acknowledging that GLBT are a class of people in need of, and deserving of, hate crimes protection.

    Posted by: Zeke | Oct 28, 2009 10:14:44 PM

  5. There was some concern that Texas wasn't pursuing the Byrd murder as a hate crime. And for some reason, there was a loophole in the 1960s legislation that prevented the Justice Department from taking over the case and trying it in federal court.

    The old hate crimes law only protected individuals who were assaulted or murdered while engaging in "federally protected" activities - anything to do with school, using public spaces, voting, and such. This legislation presumably removes that provision and allows the Justice Department to intervene regardless of what the victim was doing at the time.

    Posted by: John | Oct 28, 2009 10:26:20 PM

  6. We have a long way to go, but this is a very exciting first step.

    The importance of this legislation... the first federal legislation in support of LGBT Americans... is not lost on me.

    We owe a debt of gratitude to Matthew Shepard's parents for their tireless fight for his and our equal humanity. May Matthew's memory be a blessing to them, and to us all.

    Onward. And forward.

    Posted by: The MIlkman | Oct 28, 2009 11:30:36 PM

  7. Thank you God, it is finally done!

    Posted by: KFLO | Oct 28, 2009 11:49:35 PM

  8. Any news about the status of the ending the HIV travel ban?

    Posted by: Jason Young | Oct 29, 2009 3:33:51 AM

  9. The travel ban is an embarassment. And fortunately, one that's about to go away.

    Everyone of importance at the State Department has said as much. When Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Supreme Court visits the United States, for example, he has to get special clearance from Secratary of State Hillary Clinton.

    The problem is, while the State Department can sign waivers for VIPs entering the country with HIV, it is the Department of Health and Human Services that's responsible for the ban in the first place.

    HHS has to publish new quarantine regulations before the ban is actually and formally lifted. The Obama administration has announced that it will do this when the new HHS regulations for 2010 are posted. The president has pledged that the HIV ban will be gone by the end of the year.

    I'm guessing the White House would not look upon Secretary Sebelius kindly if she doesn't get the job done. But I trust she will.

    It really is just the bureaucratic hassle of writing up new regulations at this point. The ban will be lifted within a month or two.

    Posted by: John | Oct 29, 2009 5:03:35 AM


    Posted by: Rich | Oct 29, 2009 6:16:08 AM

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