Task Force Action Fund Applauds House Judiciary Committee Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463 (Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

Task Force Action Fund Applauds House Judiciary Committee Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation

WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund applauds the
House Judiciary Committee's passage today of the Local Law Enforcement
Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913), which includes a key provision
that would expand existing federal hate crimes law to include crimes
motivated by actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender
identity. The measure has previously passed both chambers on several
occasions.

The Task Force has a long history in working to secure hate crimes
protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Get more details here.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

"Laws ultimately reflect a nation's values, and this legislation,
once passed, will send a strong message that America rejects all forms
of hate violence, including bias-motivated crimes against lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people. This committee vote marks the
beginning of the end of a long-fought battle.

"We are pleased that President Obama has expressed support for this
critical legislation by announcing he will sign the bill when it comes
to his desk. We hope the administration will play a role in assisting
with the measure's passage in both the House and Senate.

"No one can deny the potent and devastating reality of hate violence
against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Despite this,
little progress has been made to combat this deadly scourge since
Congress first passed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act nearly two decades
ago. Why? Because right-wing forces would rather see anti-LGBT crimes
go unaddressed by law enforcement than have the words 'sexual
orientation' or 'gender identity' appear alongside other protected
classes in federal law.

"This bill is important for the entire country because it adds and
improves federal hate crimes protections based on race, religion,
national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and
disability. Local law enforcement authorities who lack the resources to
investigate hate crimes would receive much-needed support from
colleagues at federal agencies.

"Unfortunately, opponents of the bill have once again launched an
extensive misinformation campaign. Over the last several years, they
have spent a lot of time and money spreading lies about the impact of
the legislation, including that it punishes people's 'thoughts' and
would lead to the imprisonment of evangelical Christians for sharing
their beliefs about LGBT people. This is both patently untrue and
blatant fear mongering. Individuals can only be prosecuted under this
law if they have committed an act of violence.

"We thank the members of the committee and their staffs for their
years of work and dedication to passing this important legislation. We
particularly thank U.S. Rep. John Conyers, whose steady and stellar
leadership to end the epidemic of hate crimes against the LGBT
community dates back to 1986, when he conducted the first-ever
congressional hearing on the issue. Today's legislative victory is a
testament to his steadfast belief that all victims of hate crimes
deserve justice."

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.

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