Senator Boxer: Senate Passes Historic Hate Crimes Legislation   

Tuesday, October 2, 2007  

I am pleased to let you know that the Senate recently acted to strengthen the ability of federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.  Action on this legislation was long overdue.

The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act gives the Department of Justice the ability to help state and local governments investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, ethnic background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity.   It was named for the young, gay man who was beaten to death almost ten years ago.  That tragedy showed us that we still have a long way to go, and that is why this action is so important.

Hate crimes are particularly offensive because they are propelled by bias, ignorance and bigotry; their purpose is not just to inflict harm, but to instill fear in entire communities. I wish there was not a need for this law -- but if America is to serve as a model for tolerance and justice, we must stamp out hate-motivated violence.

The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed by a vote of 60-39 as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act.  To become law, it must be retained in the House and Senate conference and be signed by the President.  You can count on me to continue to work for its passage.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer