US House of Representatives Passes Matthew Shepard Act

Moments ago, the US House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shepard Act, also known as HR 1913 Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, with a final vote tally of 249-175.

Earlier in the day, North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and many of her fellow Republicans did their best to misrepresent the purpose, mischaracterize the intent, and frighten people with false legal effects of the bill. Tactics included questioning the circumstances of Matthew Shepard’s death, reading from the Bible, reading from the dictionary, and claiming that 90% of states already have protections, making the law unnecessary.


(Easy as it is to poke fun at other people’s representatives, Steve Austria, my own representative, was posting on Twitter about an entirely different subject during the debate and then voted against it. I guess I’m just not that important.)

The Matthew Shepard Act now moves on to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass handily. This may be months away, so we’ll have to sit tight for a while longer until it gets to President Obama’s desk, where he has assured the nation that it will be signed.