HRC Blog

Romney versus Obama on Hate Crime Protections

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Yesterday, we highlighted for you the deep contrasts between President Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to youth bullying.

Today, we’re looking at the divisions between the Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan tickets over hate crime protections for LGBT people. Unsurprisingly, the two camps are once again at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009. It represented the first federal law to protect the LGBT community, and sent a powerful message that violence motivated because of one’s gender identity or sexual orientation would not be tolerated. At the time, Obama called the new law an important step in protecting human rights.

Despite his claim in this week’s debate that he supports human rights, Mitt Romney actually doesn’t favor hate crimes protections for LGBT people – and his actions prove that. Romney doesn’t support non-discrimination protections of any kind for LGBT people at the federal level, and in fact he vetoed a bill providing for the funding of hate crimes prevention while serving as governor of Massachusetts in 2003.

Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, isn’t any better. He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Apparently, Ryan disagrees with the nearly 70 percent of Americans who say LGBT people need hate crime protections.

Learn more about the Romney-Ryan ticket at

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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