Log Cabin Republicans applaud passage of Matthew Shepard Act in US Senate

July 21, 2009 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – The Log Cabin Republicans issued the following statement today following the passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act) by the U.S. Senate:

"Passage of this important legislation providing local and state law enforcement with the essential resources for prosecuting bias-motivated hate crimes would not have been possible without the support of fair-minded Republicans. We applaud the 5 Republican Senators  – Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine, Richard Lugar from Indiana, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and George Voinovich from Ohio  – who provided the margin of victory which allowed this legislation to move to a vote by the full Senate," said Log Cabin National Chairman Terry W. Hamilton.

"Passage of this legislation is a truly remarkable achievement and a great step forward for the civil rights movement. This legislation not only ensures proper prosecutions of such violent crimes, but also ensures protection for the 1st Amendment freedom of speech and of religion," added Log Cabin Republicans Spokesman Charles T. Moran, "This legislation punishes based on actions - not speech or thought."

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act provides federal funding and assistance from the Department of Justice for local and state law enforcement agencies, or where local authorities are unwilling or unable to act, by taking the lead in investigations and prosecutions of bias-motivated, violent crimes resulting in death or serious bodily injury. The legislation also makes grants available to state and local communities to combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers or assist in state and local investigations and prosecutions of bias-motivated crimes.

A 2007 Hart Research poll shows large majorities of every major subgroup of the American electorate - including such traditionally conservative groups as Republican men and evangelical Christians - expressing support for strengthening hate crimes laws.