Press Room

October 06, 2004

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HRC Decries Rejection of Hate Crimes Legislation

'Broad bipartisan support for this bill didn't stop the House GOP leadership from ensuring its demise,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign decried the removal of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act from the Defense Department authorization bill. In July, the Senate passed the measure with a vote of 65-33 as an amendment to the bill. Through a procedural vote in September, the House voted in favor of keeping the hate crimes measure in the defense bill by a bipartisan vote of 213-186.

"Broad bipartisan support for this bill didn't stop the House GOP leadership from ensuring its demise," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "It's just five days away from the anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death and another year will go by without adequate hate crimes protections. That's shameful. Even worse are the political motives behind it. Instead of promoting hate crimes protections, the president is promoting discrimination. Voters will remember that on Nov. 2."

LLEEA would add real or perceived sexual orientation, gender and disability to federal hate crime laws, thus allowing the federal government the ability to provide assistance for the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes based on these categories. The Senate passed LLEEA as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill on June 15, 2004, with 18 Republicans voting in favor. On Sept. 28, the House voted on a motion to instruct information conference committees that a bipartisan majority of the House wanted it to pass, with 31 Republicans voting in favor.

The measure enjoys strong bipartisan support and is endorsed by more than 175 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: the National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and many others.

"We thank Senators Kennedy and Smith for their leadership on this important measure," added Jacques.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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