Petition to promote
U.S. federal anti-hate law
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.
"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
A resolution follows:
WHEREAS: We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person;
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.
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
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.