May 4, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 18
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Saturday, Feb 29, 2020



Dear SGN,
Score another victory for the LGBT community! On Thursday, May 03, 2007, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 237 to 180, passed hate crimes legislation, known as the Matthew Shepard Act. This bill includes sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, and disability. This is a historic day that moves all people in the United States closer to safety.

Representative Reichert of the 8th congressional district in Washington State disappointed us by voting to eliminate gender identity and expression from the bill. However, when that failed, he voted to support the bill as it was written.

This battle is far from over. The White House immediately issued a statement saying that the President's advisors are recommending he veto the Matthew Shepard Act. Meanwhile, the Right has been spreading lies and misinformation about the bill. The hate crimes legislation grants federal funds to local law enforcement investigating hate crimes. Leaders on the far right have been misleading their members and the public into believing that this bill could threaten religious leader's free speech; this is wholly untrue.

Please join Equal Rights Washington in thanking your representatives who voted for this important legislation and in calling on the President to meet face to face with family members who have lost a loved one to the violence of a hate crime before taking out his veto pen.

ERW wishes to express its thanks to the Religious Coalition for Equality who a few weeks ago sent a delegation of clergy to lobby in Washington in support of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592).

ERW is proud to have stood with HRC and the Task Force in demanding that the hate crimes bill be inclusive of gender identity and expression. Our unity an unwavering commitment to Transgender equality is making it difficult for the radical right to use its traditional weapon of divide and conquer. United we stand.

Please take a moment to log onto our website and contact the President and your Congressional delegation in support of the Hate Crimes Bill.

In solidarity,

Barbara Green
Interim Executive Director
Equal Rights Washington

As we all know, life doesn't make any guarantee whatsoever, but the recent incidents at Virginia Tech make us understand our world isn't a safe place in which to live.

Countless churches and memorial tributes have been held for the deceased; plus, smaller school groups have been meeting almost daily on campus and elsewhere.

In our thoughts, let us not forget the families who may suffer for years to come, emotionally, and their personal resources to survive. May our thoughts be with them.

Buzz Flowers Callaway

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