Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Think About It (and support The Mathew Shepard Act)

With a new administration headed by our noble president and statesman Barak Obama, isn't it high time we put some legal muscle up against hate crimes? Haters are the ultimate of bullies.

Speaking of bullying, recently an eleven year-old boy named Carl, from Springfield, Massachusetts took his own life after months of vicious bullying and repeated taunts that he was gay. Click here for a news story.

View this video narrated by Mathew Shepard's mom Judy, calling for action on the hate crimes legislation.
Below it is a legislative alert from Human Rights Campaign. Insert your own legislators in place of mine, John Olver. Click HERE for more information.

We've received word that the House will vote on the Matthew Shepard Act TOMORROW.

We also know far right groups are flooding Congress with calls, emails and sickening "fact sheets" claiming that sexual orientation means criminal acts like bestiality and necrophilia, and that this bill protects those behaviors. Shame on them.

We need more calls to Rep. John Olver, and we need them right away. So we've organized a national call-in campaign with dozens of organizations across the country – I hope you'll do your part.

It takes about 45 seconds. So set yourself a reminder on your phone. Stick a note to your computer. Or stop reading this and do it right now. Whatever you do, make sure to CALL REP. Olver TODAY.

If you've never called Congress, let me assure you, it's easy. And even if you have already sent an e-mail or called, please make another call – this is our LAST CHANCE before the House votes tomorrow!

1. Before 5 p.m. ET, call Rep. Olver's office at (202) 225-5335.
2. Most likely, one of Rep. Olver's interns will answer and ask where you're calling from and why. You're calling to urge the Representative to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1913). Most calls end right there. But if you like, you can add:
* Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise. One out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim's sexual orientation.
* Hate crimes have more than one victim. They are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities.
* The Matthew Shepard Act targets only violent acts – not speech. It does not tell any clergy member what he or she can or can't preach.
* Mention that Rep. Olver's vote on this bill will affect your future support.
3. IMPORTANT: After you hang up, click here to let us know that you made the call. Don't skip this step! It helps us track our progress.

It's been 10 years since Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay. Judy Shepard has fought for 10 years for this bill, and HRC has been by her side. It's been 10 years, and this is our chance to get the bill signed into law.

Unlike the other side, we can't use lies to win. We only have the truth – and the voices to speak it. Please make your phone call right now.

Then, please pass this email on to your friends and family.

Thank you for taking action.


  1. This is SUCH an important issue! I will urge people to call their Representatives today.

  2. Good post.... I am fwding it on...

    .. who in the world could be anti-hate-crime laws? Wouldn't that make you pr-hate0crimes? Wouldn't that make you evil?


  3. Just one more way that these people make "Pro Life" a freakin' oxymoron! Posted and tweeted, dearest!

  4. In my country homosexuality is accepted and openly discussed. The only people who are being difficult, are newcomers, immigrants from muslim countries.Gay weddings happen almost daily. Good post Pagan Sphinx! Thanks for sharing,

  5. Right on. Our very able President should address this one.

    10 years? Wow.

    My dearest friend took his life after years of feeling inferior because he was gay and because so many wanted to "fix" him. The rage in me will never die. I wish they'd go fix themselves. Such damage the do gooders and know it alls do.

  6. I promise to do what I can to help.

  7. I'm with you Gina, against Hate crimes, of course. But I don't quite understand. They're punished by law, as other crimes, I guess. Their motive are less understandable, and more reprehensive but, in the fact, they're crimes as well.

    In our country, at this time, they're judging a team of criminals that have kidnapped, tortured and then murdered with an unimaginable cruelty a young man because he was jew. That brings me to tears when I read news like this. Sometimes, I doubt about mankind's possibilies to improve itself. We're all time making one step ahead, two backward.
    (I've understood on the video, these men and woman have been killed because they were gays, or mentally retarded. Is it right ? And the young woman ? I can read easily, but it's hard to understand the whole conversation for me)

  8. Catherine: you ask some very good questions. This is what I know:
    we already have federal legislation that allows prosecution of hate crimes. While hate crimes toward people of colro seem (to me) to taken more seriously, hate crimes against GLBT persons or those percieved as such, are not. The Mathew Shepard Act would strengthen the existing laws and allow the Dept. of Justice to investigate fully, a crime that is thought to be based on hate. It would also add "gender" and gender identity" to the list of categories for statistics on hate crimes.

    Why are these crimes not treated like any other crime? Because people are specifically targeted for voilence because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion. This sets these crimes apart from your garden variety crimes.

    Stronger hate crimes legislation protects people who especially targeted. When these crimes are taken notice of, they are brought into our public eye so that we, as a society, can rally against hate.

    I hope I've answered your questions but I am not an expert. I will ask my daughter, who is, for more substantial legal perspective on this. She knows a lot!

    Thanks to everyone for your support on this. I'm at work and still not sure when the vote will be or if it's happened. Should be any minute now. I believe Obama is planning on signing it.

  9. Forgot to mention: the Mathew Shepard Act would also protect women and the disabled.

  10. I'm definitely against these hate crimes but I thought hate crimes were already treated as such. I'm also very interested in finding out exactly what this Act states before calling to encourage someone to vote for it.

    My problem with some laws/acts, whatever is that they're never to the point. They always seem to throw in something that is unacceptable forcing people to vote against something they would otherwise approve of.

    Good for you for pushing this. For me, I need to read exactly what this Act states.

    Again, I thought people were already being prosecuted for hate crimes when it was clear this was the case.

  11. I will support and share your post here in France.

  12. I just read that it passed the House!! I called my rep and thanked him for voting for it

    I will call my Senators to tell them to vote for it but I'm pretty certain they will - one of them is a co-sponsor

    I also fwd'd the latest HRC e-mail to friends in states where there is opposition and asked them to call their Senators

    It could actually happen this time!! Sad to be so exited about something that should have just been done years ago - but it does offer up renewed hope for a better America

    love ya lady!

  13. Thank you all for your support. And a victory it is! :-)

    2SweetnSaxy: I may have addressed your questions in one of my earlier comments. Yes, it is important to understand what it is you're trying to get politicians to vote for. There is lots of information out there. That is part of the beauty of the internet. Thanks for chiming in!

    Laurent: Welcome and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I look forward to visiting you soon, at your blog.

  14. Also, here in Georgia, we are mourning the suicide of another 11-year-old -- Jaheem Herrera. He killed himself due to anti-gay bullying in his school, which became so intolerable he saw no way out. No way out, at age 11? It astounds me.

    Including GLBT people as a class in the hate crimes law is important, as law enforcement will be forced to take violent crimes based on prejudice more seriously. Hopefully, this will help stem the hatred that leads to such horrific results. It will not end completely, at least not in my lifetime, but I hope that future generations will be spared such violence and hatred.

    Thanks for posting this.

  15. Yes, Gina, I'm with you about to add "gender : hate crimes". This is important. That way, they're not considered as common crimes. Because they're absolutely not "common". It can help to reveal an increase of them.
    What amaze me is that people still consider GLBT persons as depraved. And so, they think they don't have to be protected as any other Americans. Mindsets find difficult to evolve. I wonder if they're a lot thinking like that. Here, there are still some reactionaries, in the previous generations, but I think, fortunately, young generations get open-minds, and are tolerant. My daughter (soon 17) gets school friends who are gays, who live openly their orientation, and they're accepted in the group as any others. Hopefully, they're not excluded at all.
    I believe this behaviour of condemning people because they're different is very alarming and need a change of education.


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