Human Rights Campaign Statement on Tragedy in California

by HRC Staff

WASHINGTON- Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay civil rights organization, released the following statement today in response to the tragedy involving Lawrence King, the 15 year-old junior high student in Oxnard, California who was shot in the head by one of his classmates during school Tuesday morning. King, who self-identified as gay, was declared brain dead on Wednesday as a result of the shooting. He was taken off life support at St. John's Regional Medical Center Thursday night.

Said Solmonese:

"This incident is another heartbreaking reminder of how often young people must endure intimidation or violence in school because of their sexual orientation or the way they express their gender identity. While California's residents are fortunate to have state laws that provide some protection against hate crimes and school bullying, this pattern of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students is repeated too often in schools and communities across America each day. This tragedy illustrates the need to pass a federal hate crimes law to ensure everyone is protected against violent, bias-motivated crimes, wherever they reside.

"We extend our deepest condolences to Lawrence King's family, classmates and the Oxnard community as the facts in this case continue to unfold."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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