Senate passes hate crimes provision

In a vote of 68 to 29 today, the Senate passed a bill that would protect members of the LGBT community from hate crimes. President Obama vowed to sign the bill when it reaches his desk later this month.

In a vote of 68 to 29 today, the Senate passed a bill that would protect members of the LGBT community from hate crimes. President Obama vowed to sign the bill when it reaches his desk later this month.

Human Rights Campaign Logo - Courtesy of hrc.org
Human Rights Campaign logo. Photo courtesy of hrc.org.

National groups advocating for the approval of this bill commented on their success today.

“The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the U.S. Senate today for passing the conference report for the FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill by a vote of 68 to 29, sending critical hate crimes legislation to the President’s desk,” HRC posted on its site earlier today.

The bill, now labeled The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, will give the Justice Department the power to “investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.”

Today was the 14th time the act was brought to a vote on the senate floor. After being signed by the president, the bill will allow the Justice Department to offer aid to local and state organizations in investigating and prosecuting “bias-motivated crimes.”

For more information on the bill, visit the Human Rights Campaign.

-Christopher Clevenger

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