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Republican Congress Stalls
on Hate Crimes Prevention

Compiled By GayToday

house.jpg - 15.25 K Washington, D.C.--Despite the rash of hate violence that has swept through the United States during the past year, House and Senate conservatives are holding up passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the waning days of Congress.

"The whole country is watching," said Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We watched in horror when Matthew Shepard died, when Joseph Ileto was shot to death, when children at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles was attacked, when at least 20 gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered people were killed during the past year alone. Now we watch again as Congress fails to act. We elect our leaders to provide vision and leadership and now is the time for them to step forward."

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed by the U.S. Senate as an amendment to the Commerce-State-Justice appropriations bill. Because the House version of the appropriations bill does not include the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the differences between the two bills must be worked out in conference committee. Conferees include 17 Republicans and nine Democrats.

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act would expand current federal law to include sexual orientation, gender and disability. The legislation also would expand federal authority to prosecute hate crimes.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
Action Alert: Pass The Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Beheading: A Grisly Murder in Virginia

Congress: Hate Legislation Disinterest Blamed on Religious Right

Related Sites:
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

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Currently, federal authorities can only intervene if a victim is engaged in a federally protected act such as attempting to vote, go to school or serve on a jury.

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