Congressman Phil Hare, a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, today voted for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act which would expand the definition of a hate crime to include gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability.
"The horrific murder of Matthew Sheppard in 1998 struck fear through the hearts of every gay American," Hare said. "That is the essence of a hate crime. It victimizes more than just an individual. It is meant to terrorize an entire group of people."
This legislation would give local law enforcement the tools they need to track, investigate, and prosecute these horrendous crimes.
"In the 10 years since Matthew Sheppard's murder, our nation has made significant progress in its journey toward acceptance," Hare said. "But harassment, intimidation and violence still persist. This bill sends a strong message: that all Americans are created equal. We will not tolerate those who would harm someone just for being themselves."
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is supported by more than 300 organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association, Police Executive Research Forum, Police Foundation, National District Attorneys Association, NAACP, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, American Association of People with Disabilities, People for the American Way, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ - Justice and Witness Ministries, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Conference, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and American Association of University Women.