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Testimonies are over!

July 22, 2009

Matthew ShepardWith a great big sigh of relief, I am happy to announce that the Assembly has closed the window on offering testimony on Ordinance 64.  I was the third to last person to speak, and it was much more intimidating being up there than I had given it credit for.  I threw out my carefully prepared speech in the essence of speed and quality over quantity.  I made mention of a great step forward for equal rights that I will share with you tonight.

The Matthew Shepard Act, known officially as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed through the U.S. Congress today.  This bill will expand the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  In addition to that, the bill will remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school.  It will give federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue.  It will require the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for the other groups are already tracked).  I have borrowed this liberally from wikipedia, so if any of this information is inaccurate, please let me know as soon as possible.

This is a very good day for equal rights.  Revel in with me, just a little.

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