Judy Shepard Hub




Mississippi Lesbian Constance McMillen to Lead NYC Pride Parade

Nycpride

Heritage of Pride announced today that Mississippi lesbian student Constance McMillen would join Judy Shepard and Lt. Dan Choi as Grand Marshals of the NYC Gay Pride parade on Sunday, June 27.

Said McMillen: “I never dreamed so many people would support my fight to take my girlfriend to the prom, much less that I’d end up being asked to be a Grand Marshal at NYC Pride. I’m really honored and touched to be asked to be part of this celebration.”


Watch: Obama Remarks on Passage of Hate Crimes Law

Masact

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.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Obama Remarks on Passage of Hate Crimes Law" »


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.


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