Rep. Chu's Statement on President's Signing of the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
October 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA32, issued the following statement today on President Obama’s signing of the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act:
"Today is a proud day for all Americans," said Rep. Chu. "With President Obama’s signature, this law finally gives all Americans the equal protection they deserve under the law, protections that should have been guaranteed long ago based upon the founding principles of our Constitution. Our citizens will now for the first time have federal protections from hate crimes based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
"It is unfortunate that it has taken more than 10 years since the deaths of both Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. for these basic protections to be extended to all of our citizens. But I sincerely believe that this bill addresses all of the concerns that have been raised by its opponents, including the religious freedom of clergy, by including provisions allowing clergy to speak freely on any issue.
"Many are familiar with the hatred and bigotry perpetrated against people of different races and religions. But the members of the LGBT community face the same types of harassment and hatred every day, just because of who they are. I believe our nation’s Founding Fathers were guided by the ideal that we cannot fight for the civil rights of one group without fighting for the civil rights of all groups, and the signing of this bill into law is a giant step toward making sure our nation lives up to that ideal."