Hate crimes bill passes Senate | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hate crimes bill passes Senate

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 4:59 PM

President Obama will be able to give supporters of gay rights a small victory. He will soon sign legislation that would place harsh penalties on hate crimes that include those based on sexual orientation or gender. The Matthew Shepard legislation was attached to a defense appropriation and Republicans failed on a 64-35 vote to kill it by filibuster. The bill then passed 68-29. Arkansas's senators voted in the majority on both votes.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) -- the bill's primary sponsor -- praised Thursday's outcome.

“Earlier this month was the 11th anniversary of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a college student who was beaten and killed solely because of his sexual orientation,” Leahy said of the bill, which was named after Shepard. “Matthew’s parents have worked courageously and tirelessly for this legislation, which aims to ensure that this kind of despicable act will never be tolerated in this country.”

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