The US Senate has passed a hate crimes bill that, if signed by President Obama, will “make it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.” Obama has promised to sign the bill, which Joe Solmonese (President of the Human Rights Campaign) has called “our nation’s first major piece of civil rights legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and killed for being gay, and James Byrd Jr, and African-American who was dragged to death–both occurred in 1998.
CNN reported that earlier this month,
Obama told the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay rights group, that the nation still needs to make significant changes to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians.”Despite the progress we’ve made, there are still laws to change and hearts to open,” he said during his address at the dinner for the Human Rights Campaign. “This fight continues now, and I’m here with the simple message: I’m here with you in that fight.”Among other things, Obama has called for the repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He also has urged Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and pass the Domestic Partners Benefit and Obligations Act.
Hopefully this legislation is the first of many new bills which provide equality for all.
What are your thoughts?