Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Act

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, is an U.S. Act of Congress, passed on October 22, 2009, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009, as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2010 (H.R. 2647). Conceived as a response to the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., the measure expands the 1969 United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

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Matt Shepard, in a family photo carried in his father's wallet.

‘Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine’ – The life and legacy of a young gay man

Sunday, September 22, 2013
On this 15th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard, filmmaker Michele Josue -- a high school classmate and close friend of Matthew's -- brings to the screen the story of the life, death, and lasting legacy of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man with aspirations to one day change the world. [ Read more → ]

Four sentenced to prison in kidnapping, attack on gay man in Ky.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
LONDON, Ky. — Four people from eastern Kentucky have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the kidnapping and attack of a gay man. [ Read more → ]

Prisoner gets 6 more years for hate crime attack on inmate he thought was gay

Sunday, March 17, 2013
DALLAS — A member of the Aryan Brotherhood will serve an extended prison sentence after admitting he committed a federal hate crime by severely beating another inmate he believed to be gay. [ Read more → ]

Jury in Kentucky begins deliberations in federal hate crime case

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the case of two men charged in a federal hate crimes case Wednesday, the first in the nation under a section of the federal hate crimes law that makes it illegal to attack someone based on the victim's real or perceived sexual orientation. [ Read more → ]
Kevin Pennington

Federal trial begins in Kentucky hate crime beating of gay man

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
LONDON, Ky. -- The federal trial of two men charged in an anti-gay hate crime in Harlan County, Ky., got underway in U.S. District Court Wednesday, the first federal application of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act for charges relating to the victim's sexual orientation. [ Read more → ]

Michigan man pleads guilty to federal hate crime in anti-gay bias attack

Friday, August 31, 2012
DETROIT -- A Michigan man pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges on Wednesday, admitting that he assaulted a victim because he believed the man was gay, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice. [ Read more → ]

Federal appeals court: Hate Crimes Act does not prohibit anti-gay speech

Thursday, August 2, 2012
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit brought by three Michigan pastors challenging the constitutionality of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. [ Read more → ]

Two Kentucky women plead guilty in hate crime against gay man

Saturday, April 14, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The two Kentucky women connected to the beating of an openly gay Kentucky man have pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a kidnapping and hate crime assault, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky. [ Read more → ]
Kevin Pennington

Kentucky men indicted under Matthew Shepard federal hate crime law

Thursday, April 12, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A federal grand jury in London, Ky. on Thursday indicted two men in the first federal application of the Matthew Shepard-James C. Bryd hate crimes law since it was signed into law in October of 2009, according to an announcement by Kerry B. Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. [ Read more → ]

Obama addresses annual HRC dinner; calls for repeal of DOMA, rebukes GOP candidates (Video)

Saturday, October 1, 2011
President Barack Obama on Saturday evening delivered the keynote address a gathering of more than 3,000 LGBT rights advocates at the Human Rights Campaign's 15th Annual HRC National Dinner, and called for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and issued a sharp rebuke to GOP presidential hopefuls for not supporting gay troops. [ Read more → ]

LGBT community breathes sigh of relief over Obama’s 2012 federal budget

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
There was relatively little for the LGBT and HIV communities to complain about in the proposed 2012 budget released by President Obama Monday. Given the proposed five-year freeze in non-essential domestic spending, there were sighs of relief. [ Read more → ]
Matthew Shepard

Remembering Matthew Shepard on the 12th anniversary of his murder

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Matthew Shepard was brutally assaulted on a lonely ridge overlooking Laramie, Wyoming twelve years ago this month. And on this day in 1998, he died while in a coma in a Fort Collins, CO, hospital with his family by his side. Much has changed. Much has not. [ Read more → ]
Mercado vigil

Authorities agree to investigate Mercado’s death as hate crime

Sunday, November 29, 2009
Puerto Rican authorities have agreed to investigate Jorge Steven López Mercado’s murder as a hate crime after they met with local representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union. [ Read more → ]
President Obama Commemorates Enactment of Hate Crimes Prevention Act

After decade long battle, federal hate crimes law expanded to include gays (Video)

Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's been more than 10 years since the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was kidnapped, brutally beaten and left to die tied to a fence on a freezing night in the Wyoming wilderness. [ Read more → ]
President Obama

Obama to sign hate crime bill on Wednesday

Monday, October 26, 2009
Washington Blade. President Obama intends to sign into law Wednesday a long-sought hate crimes protection measure as part of a major defense bill, according to an administration source. The president plans to pen his name to the fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill, which includes... [ Read more → ]
US Capitol

U.S. Senate passes historic hate crimes bill that would protect gays

Friday, October 23, 2009
The U.S. Senate cleared a historic hate crimes bill Thursday for President Obama's signature, approving new federal penalties for attacks on gay men and lesbians. [ Read more → ]
Mattew Shepard

House vote expands hate crimes protections to gays and lesbians

Friday, October 9, 2009
The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to include those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, a step that would extend new protections to gay, lesbian,and transgender people, reports the New York Times. Democrats hailed... [ Read more → ]
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