President Joe Biden acknowledged the twenty fifth anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s demise on Thursday and condemned the nation’s latest uptick in anti-LGBTQ threats and acts of violence.
Shepard, a homosexual faculty freshman on the College of Wyoming in Laramie, was kidnapped, robbed and crushed right into a coma on Oct. 6, 1998. The 2 males who attacked Shepard tied him to a fence in freezing climate. He was found 18 hours later by a bicyclist, who initially mistook him for a scarecrow. Shepard died in a Colorado hospital on Oct. 12, 1998, surrounded by household.
“Matthew’s tragic and mindless homicide shook the conscience of the American folks,” Biden mentioned in a assertion. “And his brave mother and father, Judy and Dennis Shepard, turned Matthew’s reminiscence right into a motion, galvanizing thousands and thousands of individuals to fight the scourge of anti-LGBTQI+ hate and violence in America.”
The 2 assailants, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, have been sentenced to life in jail for first-degree homicide, however they weren’t charged with hate crimes. On the time, assaults motivated by a sufferer’s sexual orientation or gender identification didn’t qualify as hate crimes below Wyoming regulation. Wyoming is at the moment one among simply two states, together with South Carolina, that doesn’t have a regulation permitting further penalties in hate-motivated crimes.
In 2009, the Obama administration enacted the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The regulation prolonged federal hate crimes legal guidelines to cowl sexual orientation, gender identification and disabilities and was named after Shepard and a Texas Black man who was murdered by white supremacists the identical yr of Shepard’s killing.
Biden, who was vice chairman on the time, lauded the 2009 regulation on Thursday and vowed to “proceed the combat in opposition to hate, in opposition to violence, and in opposition to bigotry in all its types.”
“In the present day, as threats and violence focusing on the LGBTQI+ group proceed to rise, our work is way from completed,” he mentioned. “No American ought to face hate or violence for who they’re or who they love.”
Anti-LGBTQ demonstrations have spiked over the previous yr, along with a number of high-profile acts of violence allegedly incited by anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
In August, an adolescent was arrested for stabbing a 28-year-old homosexual skilled dancer, O’Shae Sibley, to demise at a gasoline station in Brooklyn, New York, in what police later mentioned was a hate crime. That very same month, Laura Ann Carleto, a California enterprise proprietor and mom of 9, was shot and killed over a Delight flag displayed in her clothes retailer.
From June 2022 to Might, there was a median of 39 anti-LGBTQ protests per 30 days within the U.S. in contrast with simply three a month from January 2017 by means of Might 2022, in line with a latest report by the Crowd Counting Consortium, a analysis group that tracks political protests.
In his assertion Thursday, Biden additionally once more referred to as for Congress to move the Equality Act, laws that may amend the 1969 Civil Rights Act to incorporate anti-discrimination protections primarily based on sexual orientation and gender identification. The laws handed within the then-Democratic-controlled Home in 2021 — with assist of three Republicans — however has since stalled within the Senate.