Obama to sign gay-inclusive hate crimes bill Wednesday

Tue. October 27, 2009 12:00 AM by OnTopMag.com

president barack obama

photo credit // www.whitehouse.gov
Washington, D.C. - President Obama is expected to sign a gay-inclusive hate crimes bill approved by Senators last week on Wednesday, ABC News reported.

On Thursday, senators voted mostly along party lines 68 to 29 in favor of expanding hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Democrats stowed away the bill inside the must-pass fiscal year 2010 defense reauthorization bill, a move that rankled some Republicans.

House members approved the bill by an overwhelming majority on October 8.

The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was killed in 1998 by two men he met in a gay bar, and James Byrd Jr., a black man dragged to death behind a pickup truck in 1998. Shepard was beaten and left to die shackled to a post along a rural road near Laramie. Judy Shepard devoted herself to passage of the bill named after her son.

Several members of the Shepard family are expected to attend the White House signing ceremony and a reception to follow. Leaders of gay rights and civil rights groups are also expected to attend.

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