The Senate passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act today on a 68-29 vote. The act will now go to President Barack Obama, who has promised to sign the bill into law.i know not everyone is on board with the need for hate crimes protections, but have you ever noticed that the folks so opposed to them almost never seem to be as vocal about the occurrence of violence based on race, color, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity?
The bill extends federal protections to people who suffer violent crimes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, protections which are already afforded to people who are victims of violent crimes because of their race, religion, or national origin.
Passage of the hate crimes measure came on a bipartisan vote, with ten Republicans joining 56 Democrats and two independents to pass the bill. One Democrat, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) voted against the measure, which was attached to a defense policy bill. Sen. Feingold said he supported the hate crimes provision but opposes the open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan.
Here's an interesting perspective from Andrew Sullivan, who is opposed to all hate crimes laws.