President Barack Obama today signed legislation which will expand the definition of violent hate crimes to include gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The new law will also allow the federal government to assist in the prosecution of hate crimes.
Congressman Barney Frank has been a persistent and outspoken supporter of the legislation, and has argued consistently that Hate Crimes legislation must be the first step in broader legislation to give LGBT individuals the same rights as those enjoyed by other Americans.
Today, Frank attended the signing ceremony today at the White House at the invitation of the President. He released the following statement reflecting his feelings about this historic moment.
"This is a bittersweet day. It is sweet because this is the first law in American history that begins the job of protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people against prejudice. But it is bitter because this bill comes too late to save countless victims."
"Our job now is to enact fully inclusive legislation to prevent job discrimination, to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and to begin the job of winning recognition of same-sex relationships on the federal level."