Senate Hearing on Matthew Shepard Act

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act for Thursday, June 25, 2009. So your Senators need to hear from you now!

Every hour of every day, at least one hate crime offense is committed somewhere in the United States. Of those attacked, it's estimated that at least 15% of hate crimes are related to a person's perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. Click here to tell your Senators this is unacceptable!

The Matthew Shepard Act would give the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence. It protects people based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

Please take action today and let your Senators know this bill is important to you!Tell me more
Talking Points
It's always best to start your e-mail to elected officials with a personal story or thought. (HERE IS A TIP: if you edit the text of the body of an e-mail supplied in an action alert, edit the subject line too so the elected official knows it is personal!!!)
This bill, which passed both houses of Congress in 2007 but did not become law, would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from bias-motivated hate violence.
While all violent crimes are heinous, hate crimes are uniquely destructive, casting a pall of terror over an entire community. They don't just target a single victim. They are designed to "send a message" that an individual and "their kind" will not be tolerated, often leaving large numbers of people feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected.
Attacks against LGBT people are one of the more common forms of hate violence but, illogically, one of the least protected. Hate crimes as a whole declined 1 percent last year, according to the FBI, but LGBT hate crimes increased 6 percent.
Please protect civil rights by giving this bill your full support and attention, and by urging your colleagues to support it as well.

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