Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
Finally! 11 years after Matthew Shepard’s death, the legislation bearing his name has finally made it through Congress and on to the President’s desk. The Republicans, of course, fought it all along the way but despite their best efforts America has arrived in the 21st century. It saddens me that Senator Kennedy isn’t here to see this come to fruition, after all of his years fighting for it.
I do wish that the bill could have been sent through Congress on its own accord, but attaching it to a defense bill was the safest bet for getting it through and the Democrats did the right thing in doing so.
Matthew’s parents Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to see this happen and I have enormous respect for both of them. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Judy at a Soulforce event protesting Focus on the Family and their hurtful, dangerous rhetoric. She was incredibly sweet and genuine and my heart broke all over again for this women who was thrust into a role that no parent would ever wish for. Hate took her son from her she chose to go on and fight that hate, She is my personal hero because of it.
Today as I watched the above videos I stumbled upon this great video which contains the statement that Dennis Shepard gave during the trial of one of Matthew’s murderers. The audio is from the movie “The Laramie Project”. It is incredibly moving.