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Religious Tolerance logo

Petition to promote U.S. federal anti-hate law

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Sponsored link.

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On 1998-OCT-6, outside Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old  University of Wyoming student, was tortured, beaten, and left tied to a pole in the freezing cold. Six days later, he died of his wounds in Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, Colorado. Matthew was murdered because he was gay and because he was a prominent and charismatic member of the gay and lesbian student group on campus.

Right now Wyoming and Colorado have no anti-hate crime laws; the state legislature in Wyoming has voted down anti-bias bills for each of the past three years.

A petition was circulated to encourage Wyoming and Colorado to enact Matthew Shepard Laws, which would strongly punish the perpetrators of hate crimes. The petition also asked for the broadening of federal anti-hate crime law. As of 1999-MAR-19, the petition is closed.

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Sponsored link:

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Opening Statement:

"As a religious voice, we state strongly that violence on the basis of sexual orientation, race or gender is wrong, is evil, is reprehensible."  John Buehren, President of The Unitarian Universalist Association, speaks for Unitarian Universalists but his words are reflected in the  hearts of people everywhere who believe we must speak out, take action against, and condemn hate crimes in all their ugly forms.

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A resolution follows:

WHEREAS: We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person; and

WHEREAS: We commend the efforts of those individuals who dedicate their lives to causes of social justice and human rights; and

WHEREAS: We support actions that protect the individual's rights of  life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That we hereby urge the passage of The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), H.R.3081 and S.1529.

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About the HCPA:

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), H.R.3081 and S.1529, would amend current federal law, which permits federal prosecution of a hate crime only if the crime was motivated by bias based on religion, national origin, or color. After revision, it would include real or perceived sexual orientation, gender, and disability so the FBI would be able to investigate and prosecute violent hate crimes against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Under this bill, hate crimes that cause death or bodily injury because of prejudice can be investigated federally, regardless of whether the victim was exercising a federally protected right.

The only way that our representatives can be aware of the base of support for this change to the current law is by making our voices heard.

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