Monday, May 21, 2007

Why We Need The Matthew Shepard Act

An 18-year-old has been charged with murder in the death of a gay man in US state South Carolina who suffered fatal injuries after being punched in the face outside a bar that was having a "Teen Night."

Investigators believe Sean Kennedy, 20, was targeted because of his sexual orientation, the Greenville News reported Friday. Kennedy's friends told authorities he was openly gay. 

For Story.......
Attacker of Savannah Gay Man Gets a Three Hundred Dollar Fine
Travis McClain
On May 7th, Charles Thomas Prickett was sentenced to a three hundred dollar fine for the brutal beating of Travis McClain, a gay man from Savannah, GA. Prickett received credit for time served for his sentence of one year in jail, even though he did not serve any jail time, and his eighty hours of community service was waived.

Georgia currently does not have hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. In both the 2006 and 2007 Georgia legislative sessions, hate crimes legislation was introduced, but the bills did not make it through before the session ended. We need a federal law on the books to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from hate crimes in states like Georgia. The passage of the Matthew Shepard Act
will provide government an additional tool in the fight against hate-motivated violence.
To Contact Your Senator to tell them to support:Matthew Shepard Act (formerly know as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007), this bill is an appropriate and measured response to the unrelenting and under-addressed problem of violent hate crimes committed against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability.
We also urge you to sign the Erase Hate Petition to help support our efforts in "Replacing Hate with Understanding, Compassion & Acceptance!"
Sign Erase Hate Petition Text Graphic


The Matthew Shepard Act would strengthen existing federal hate crime laws in three ways:
1) Expand the law to authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Current law only includes race, color, religion or national origin.
2) Eliminate a serious limitation on federal involvment under existing law which requires that a victim of a bias-motivated crime was attacked because he/she was engaged in a specified federally-protected activity such as voting, serving on a jury or attending school.
3) Add "gender" and "gender identity" to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act
For full details on the Matthew Shepard Act, please download the HRC One-Page Fact Sheet

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