Kerry: Senate Vote a milestone in ensuring there is no place for hate in America
Senator John Kerry today praised his colleagues in the Senate for passing legislation to include sexual orientation as a category of hate crime. The law currently only covers crimes motivated by race, religion and sex. Kerry is a co-sponsor of the bill.
"This fight is not over, but this vote moves us one step closer to a day when we will begin at last to turn the tide, and reaffirm our faith that the strength of human justice can overcome the hatred in our society by confronting it. I congratulate Senator Kennedy for his hard work in addressing hate crimes and ensuring that this vital legislation is enacted," said Senator Kerry.
The bill was inspired by the brutal beating and death of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old from Wyoming who was killed by two men in 1998 simply for being gay.
The bill would eliminate a serious limitation on federal involvement under existing law - the requirement that a victim of a bias-motivated crime was attacked because he/she was engaged in a specified federally-protected activity, such as serving on a jury or attending public school. It would also authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
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