October 28, 2009
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates applauds President Barack Obama's signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation by expanding coverage to include crimes based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
This is the first federal law in the nation's history that is specifically inclusive of the full lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, a historic and significant move in the LGBT civil rights movement, signaling a new era in this country in which everyone can be treated equally.
"History is being made by federal leaders who are taking a stand to protect the LGBT community from the hate-motivated violence that has existed for far too long," said Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Founding Executive Director Selisse Berry. "We celebrate this milestone, but we can't forget the people - Mathew Shephard, James Byrd, Jr., Gwen Araujo and thousands of others - who have been victims of hate because of who they are."
"We hope that federal leaders' decision to protect LGBT Americans from hate-motivated crimes sets the course for federal policies that will protect the LGBT population on all fronts, including discrimination in the workplace through the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act," Berry said. "We're on the cusp of achieving the protections and equitable rights that countless people before us have sought, and we can't stop now. We must continue contacting our Congressional delegates to gain their support, and ultimately assuring that every LGBT person - whether it's you, your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father - can live their lives without fear."
Media contact: Associate Director of Marketing & Communications J. Erik Olvera, 415-694-6512 or firstname.lastname@example.org