Hate Crimes Bill Passes House

Members of Congress Stand Up for LGBT Americans Despite Anti-Gay Smear Campaign

The House of Representatives today passed legislation creating federal hate crimes protections for LGBT Americans. The bill, which passed by a vote of 237 to180 would make violent crimes prosecutable as hate crimes when the victim is targeted because of his or her gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

People For the American Way president Ralph G. Neas issued the following statement:

“We applaud representatives who acted in the best interests of the American people by passing the federal hate crimes bill. Hate crimes are all too common in our country, and this bill will help to make sure that people can live free of violence and harassment aimed at them because of who they are.

“Now that the House has passed the bill, it’s up to Senators to do the right thing. Passing this bill will create real protections for people who are in greatest need of them.

“Opposition to hate crimes legislation hasn’t just been fierce; it’s been dirty and dishonest. Anti-gay groups have unleashed a smear campaign based on false claims about threats to religious liberty and on vilifying LGBT Americans. It’s appalling that the White House has allied itself with these groups and threatened to veto this bill with a specious ‘special status’ argument. It is degrading and insulting to people who have been harassed, assaulted, and murdered specifically because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The American people want hate crimes protections for themselves, their friends, their families, and their neighbors. Senators should not be distracted by false charges from the far right.”

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