Wednesday, October 28, 2009

History In The Making: President Signs Matthew Shepard Act

Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered because he was gay more than 11 years ago.

Today, President Obama will sign legislation in his name. According to the AP, the measure expands current law to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It took 14 tries to get this fully inclusive legislation passed. 14 tries.

This is hardly brave legislation, in that on almost all polls, more than 75% of Americans support hate crimes legislation that protects LGBT people. But, it is the first piece of national civil rights legislation that includes protections on gender and gender identity, and should be celebrated. I'd like to think that other legislation (repealing DOMA, repealing DADT for starters) will follow soon.

I'm hoping that Judy Shepard will be at the White House this afternoon. I imagine that her heart will both be glad that such legislation finally exists...but that her grief for her son will also feel overwhelming. I can't help but think of Scripture -- he died, so others shall live. My prayers will be with her and all the other parents who've lost their children to hate crimes.

1 comment:

Kristin T. (@kt_writes) said...

Thank you for marking this moment, as a reminder to us to keeping praying for and working for mercy and justice.