KENNEDY, SMITH ON PASSAGE OF HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION
Today, Senators Edward Kennedy and Gordon Smith celebrated the passage of the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. This legislation will ensure that all our citizens are guaranteed equal protection under the law, and will strengthen the ability of federal, state, and local government investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, ethnic background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity.
Senator Kennedy said, "For far too long, law enforcement has been forced to investigate these crimes with one hand tied behind its back. That's wrong and today, Congress set it right. No member of our society deserves to be the victim of a violent crime because of their race, religion, ethnic background, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity."
"This is a national problem that deserves national attention. Hate crimes seek to intimidate entire groups of Americans," Senator Smith said. "Hate crimes do more than just harm one victim, they terrorize an entire society. They send an ominous message of hate and intolerance to all Americans and we cannot be complacent or tolerate of such acts of hatred."