- February 5, 2014
Virgin Island Governor John deLongh Jr signed the Hate-Motivated Crimes Act of 2013 into law On Friday.
The legislation enhances penalties for crimes motivated by the victim’s race, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Hate crimes terrorize communities, making individual members afraid to live in certain areas or feel free to move about in their communities.
Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act, the U.S. federal government prohibits violent crimes targeting individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, it is the responsibility of each state or territory to address hate-motivated crimes in their backyard as well. For more information on why states need to adopt state level laws, please see our report on state level advocacy.
HRC applauds the Virgin Island legislators for taking a bold step in support of its LGBT residents.