Yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) took the Senate floor and urged the Senate to pass the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1105). Earlier, Senator Harry Read (D-NV) filed a procedural motion to overcome Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) objection to bringing the amendment to the floor for a vote.
Supporters must achieve 60 on the motion this Thursday. If 60 votes are counted, the bill will likely be attached to the Department of Defense authorization bill and move toward passage.
A virtually identical House version of the bill passed overwhelmingly on May 3rd, 2007 with a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180 – with more than 20 Republicans voting in support of the bill.
Anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family have mobilized thousands with a dangerous misinformation campaign. Critical votes could be lost to the scare tactics being employed by the radical right.
This bill does not threaten free speech or weaken the Constitution. This bill would only apply to violent attacks. It would also provide funding to help law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute violent hate crimes.
The radical right knows the Matthew Shepard Act is a real step toward tolerance in America. They find that so infuriating, they’ll stop at nothing to bring it down – even if it means calling lawmakers to spread anger fueled by lies.