WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer released the following statement today in recognition of President Obama signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law one year ago:
“One year ago today President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. The Act ensures that state and local law enforcement can effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes and updates the existing Federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or gender identity.
“Following the brutal murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Democrats fought for more than a decade to pass legislation that ensures those responsible for the thousands of hate crimes committed each year are brought to justice. I am proud that Democrats were able to pass this landmark provision last year to make certain that State and local law enforcement agencies have the resources needed to address these brutal crimes.
“We will not accept bias-motivated violence against Americans or the fear it instills in communities. This legislation was a step toward ensuring protection of all Americans—no matter who they are—from hatred and prejudice.”