Judy Shepard Hub




Attorney General Eric Holder Praises Hate Crimes Law, Lacks Familiarity with Maine Marriage Equality Ballot Measure

Holder

Guestblogger COREY JOHNSON

I just left the signing of the Department of Defense Authorization bill, to which the the inclusive hate-crimes bill was attached. It was a very moving occasion and I'll have a post later reflecting on this historic day for the LGBT community, but for now some remarks from Attorney General Eric Holder. I took the (blurry, apologies) photo above of Holder, Judy Shepard, and White House Office of Public Engagement Deputy Director Brian Bond just before the ceremony.

Holder made himself available just after the event and was asked a few questions. I was able to ask him to clarify his recent weak remarks on Question 1 in Maine, but unfortunately Holder said he was not familiar with the ballot measure.

Said Holder: "I think this is the next great civil rights bill. We have after ten, twelve years finally come to recognize that federal law should apply, as the President said, to all Americans. This is a great tool for the Justice Department and will I think significantly improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, for women and for gay and lesbian Americans. This is a great, great day and too long coming."

A follow-up was asked about what actions the Justice Department's civil rights division can take tomorrow that they couldn't take today on hate crimes.

Answered Holder: "We can give assistance to state and local prosecutors who will investigate the vast majority of these crimes and in those instances where they don't have the ability to or desire, we can now prosecute these crimes and we could not do that thirty minutes ago. Now we can."

Recalling Holder's recent appearance in Maine at which he was asked about Question 1 and surprisingly refused to take a stand, I wanted to see if he had any clarification, so I asked him, "You were in Maine earlier this week and were asked about Question 1, which would take away same-sex marriage. You didn't comment on it at the time but would you like to clarify?"

Said Holder: "Well, what I said was that the President has indicated and I personally favor of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and that is something we are working to do."

I replied, "And the referendum in Maine -- would you like to speak further on that?"

Holder's answer? "I don't really know enough about the referendum over there to comment."


Cyndi Lauper Lauds Passage of Hate Crimes Prevention Bill

Towleroad has received a statement from Cyndi Lauper praising passage of the hate crimes bill, which President Obama will sign into law tomorrow.

Cyndilauper "As a straight ally and as a person with many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members, friends and fans, I want to thank the Human Rights Campaign, Judy and Dennis Shepard and Senator Edward Kennedy for their leadership in the 11 year struggle to get the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Bill enacted. FINALLY, with President Obama's signature, violent hate crimes against the LGBT community will be recognized and prosecuted by the Federal government. This is only the beginning, I believe that the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, will soon be here. Today, that light at the end of the tunnel for the LGBT civil rights movement is much brighter."


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #552: National Equality March Speeches

I didn't get a chance to post these over the weekend. Eight speakers from the National Equality March: Cleve Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Shepard, Lieutenant Dan Choi:

Lance Black, Lady Gaga, and Julian Bond, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Towleroad Guide to the Tube #552: National Equality March Speeches" »


Voice of Matthew Shepard's Killer to Feature in Laramie Epilogue

Mckinney

In August I posted about the 80-minute epilogue to The Laramie Project which was to open on the 11th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death. Some new details: the show will be opening at more than 130 theaters simultaneously on October 12.

The AP reports that a major segment of the show features testimony from Aaron McKinney (above, center), whom gay actor/writer Greg Pierotti interviewed for more than 10 hours:

Shepard

"According to the detailed notes taken by Pierotti and condensed into the new script, McKinney says he had been drawn to crime ever since childhood, feels sympathy for Shepard's parents and expresses regret that he let his own father down. 'As far as Matt is concerned, I don't have any remorse,' McKinney is quoted as saying in the script, which was provided to The Associated Press by the production company. McKinney, according to the script, reiterates his claim that the 1998 killing in Laramie, Wyo., started out as a robbery, but makes clear that his antipathy toward gays played a role. 'The night I did it, I did have hatred for homosexuals,' McKinney is quoted as saying. He goes on, according to the script, to say that he still dislikes gays and that his perceptions about Shepard's sex life bolstered his belief that the killing was justified. McKinney and his accomplice, Russell Henderson, targeted Shepard at a bar in Laramie in part because they assumed he was gay, according to the script. 'Well, he was overly friendly. And he was obviously gay,' McKinney is quoted as saying. 'That played a part ... his weakness. His frailty. And he was dressed nice. Looked like he had money.'"

Of Judy Shepard's ongoing work against hate crimes, McKinney says: "...she never shuts up about it, and it's been like 10 years."

Pierotti says he wanted to address whether or not the murder was a hate crime, a question raised by a sensationalist 20/20 segment by Elizabeth Vargas in 2004 claiming the murder was motivated by drugs.

Adds Pierotti: "He's perfectly comfortable acknowledging he doesn't like gay people, and for me it was unnerving to experience his lack of remorse. Yet I feel very protective of him — not in an apologist way, but I see he has a lot of complexity. ... As an artist, it's more interesting to dig into who this person is."

The New York performance, which will take place at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, will reportedly be connected to all the other performances by the internet with a live question-and-answer session following the debut.


News: #uknowhowiknowuregay, Sharks, Steve Hildebrand, Maine

Road1,000 take to the streets in Friday protest over homophobic attacks in Rome.

Jesusmars RoadJesus on Mars?

RoadJeremy Piven hits the beach.

RoadHas-been rapper Fabolous behind offensive #uknowhowiknowuregay Twitter trending topic.

RoadObama advisor Steve Hildebrand thrashes President, Dems: "I gave up a lot to elect Democrats, and I expect them to give it up for me. I’m going to speak loudly. The Republicans don’t have power unless the moderates and the Blue Dogs give it to them — which is what they’re doing now."

RoadDes Moines, Iowa man claims he was removed from a bar for being gay.

RoadTed Haggard apologizes for violating an entire congregation.

RoadNampa, Idaho's transgender candidate Melissa Sue Robinson, who recently announced she was suing Twitter over fake account defamation, gets profiled by AP: "This farming and manufacturing town of about 83,000 residents, where a sugar factory and a local hospital are among the biggest employers, doesn't seem to be all that concerned that Robinson previously lived as a man."

RoadNew Zealand transgender MP visits Nepal.

Greatwhitesharks RoadBeach closed: Great White Sharks tagged off Cape Cod.

RoadUSA Today on Judy Shepard, her new book, and a federal hate crimes law: "Shepard, who loves playing mah-jongg and drinking martinis, admits to being 'flummoxed' at times about the gay and lesbian world. But, she adds, 'It's not important that I understand it. It's important that I accept it.'"

RoadBritney Spears shocks concert crowd with actual singing.

RoadWashington Post ombudsman on Brian Brown NOM puff piece: "Hesse said she decided to let Brown tell his story, as opposed to extensively quoting what others say about him. Her editors didn't object to the concept. Having Brown's story told in his "voice," Hesse reasoned, would allow readers to best assess his arguments. Fine in theory. But it deprived readers of hearing from others who have battled Brown and find him uncivil and bigoted. To them, he represents injustice. They should have been heard, at length."

RoadNOM's Maggie Gallagher spews lies on Maine radio show.

Dornan RoadCalvin Klein model Jamie Dornan launches international male model search.

RoadScientists identify trio of genetic mutations linked to Alzheimer's disease.

RoadSchwarzenegger's phones blitzed over 'Harvey Milk Day': "So far, the governor’s automated phone line for constituents has received more than 100,000 calls about the bill, most against it, according to Mr. Schwarzenegger’s office."

RoadReal World's Scott Herman shows off his assets.

RoadLittle Britain's David Walliams is nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for his book about a cross-dressing schoolboy. The prize honors the funniest books for children.

RoadChurch of Scotland selects gay man, Scott Rennie, to train as a minister.

RoadMaine Archbishop Richard Malone asks churches to fill coffers for fight against marriage equality: "The bishop has asked churches to take up a special second collection next weekend to support Stand For Marriage Maine, the group leading the effort to repeal Maine's same sex marriage law."


Judy Shepard Recalls the Phone Call That Changed Everything

MatthewshepardNewsweek has posted an excerpt of Judy Shepard's new memoir, The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed (Hudson River Press):

"But the phone call that Thursday morning wasn't from Matt. It was about him. When the man on the other end of the line announced who he was, an emergency-room doctor from Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, I went numb. I don't remember what he said, or what I did next. I'm not sure whether it was the ringing phone or my subsequent gasp that startled the still-sleeping Dennis. Whatever it was that woke him, Dennis took the phone from me and then, after a seemingly endless silence, made a noise—a sort of helpless and mournful groan—that I'd never heard before and haven't heard since. Coming as it did from my husband, a man whose reserved manner is as typically masculine and Western as his Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots, the moan confirmed my worst fears."

Read the full excerpt here.


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