Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement this afternoon on the House passage of H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The House passed the legislation by a vote of 249 to 175.
"Throughout our history, this nation has sought to uphold the ideals of our founding - that all are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, with the passage of federal hate crimes legislation, we have affirmed these ideals and the inclusiveness that our nation stands for by extending the protection of its laws to all: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'
"All Americans have a fundamental right to feel safe in their communities. This legislation will help protect Americans against violence based on sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or gender identity.
"Congress has been debating federal hate crimes legislation for 17 years. It was more than 10 years ago that Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. The time for debate is long over. I am proud that today the House has acted and in so doing, honored this nation's commitment to the ideals of justice, equality and opportunity."
"With that, I'm very pleased to yield to a real fighter for America's working families, a champion for fairness in our country, a person who helped engineer this magnificent blueprint for future for the Congress, Leader Reid."