Apr 15, 2007

[Pink News] The Matthew Sheppard Act

Flickr: jiadoldol - Matthew Shepard

Congressmen in the US currently supporting a Federal Hate Crimes Bill aimed at expanding federal penalties for acts of violence against homosexuals have decided to rename the bill in honor of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was tied to a fence and beaten to near death in Wyoming at the tender age of 18. He later died due to his injuries despite being only 21 years old.

Numerous versions of anti hate crime legislation specifically for LGBT groups have been going around the Hill for some time now without any of them being able to reach the president. With the current Democratic majority controlling the house, it seemed an apt time to push the bill further. The decision to more or less dedicate the bill to Matthew was done in an effort to increase support and perhaps increasing the chances of this bill going through smoothly. Lawmakers and supporters behind the bill are confident that they will get federal approval to make this into law within the year.

This is definitely good news for the LGBT community, as is any new legislation supporting gay rights and offering greater protection against those who choose not to understand our way of life.

Similar legislation has made attempts of getting through our own Philippine Congress, however it appears that even recognizing that homosexuals exist from a legal perspective seems to be a challenge in itself with highly conservative religious groups pushing their own agenda in Congress. Heck, the chair of the committee on Human Rights has done a lot to block our own Anti-Discrimination bill mainly based on his own religious views as representative of several Christian organizations. If only our lawmakers were more responsible and voted based on the law and the needs of their constituents and not just based on their own views on morality. *sigh*

But this is not the forum to discuss that - this entry is to celebrate this striking act by the Congressmen behind the Federal Hate Crimes Act, now the Matthew Shepard Act. I send my best intentions to them in the hopes for speedy approval of the bill and that Dubya doesn't try and veto it at his level.

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Photo linked from jiadoldol's photostream.


  1. hi. not to be nit-picky or anything but you should check some of your facts. matthew shepard was 21 years old when he was murdered and we wasn't dead when he was found on the fence. he died nearly 5 days later in the hospital from the injuries he suffered while tied there.
    i only say this because i'm doing a project on his murder for a class and i googled him and your blog came up. otherwise, great post. it's an important bill.

  2. sorry about that - upon re-reading my summary statement i didn't realize it presented the facts incorrectly. i was aiming to make a brief summary for those not entirely familiar with the issue.

    as for the age bit, i honestly made a mistake. thanks for letting me know!