Senate Passes Hate Crimes Protection Act; House To Act Next

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) welcomes the progress made Thursday, July 22nd, when the United States Senate added the Hate Crime Prevention Act (HCPA) to a larger appropriations bill. HCPA would extend Federal protections in hate violence incidents when sexual orientation, gender and disability motivate them. This highly supported, bipartisan measure puts the full protection of all Americans one step closer to becoming a reality -- regardless of any person's race, color, religion, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

"While the Senate's action moves this bill closer to becoming law, the road to ultimate success for these efforts still stretches before us," said Jeffrey Montgomery, NCAVP Steering Committee member and Executive Director of Michigan's Triangle Foundation. "The significance of continued forward movement on this legislation can not be understated. It is imperative that the House of Representatives now follow the Senate's lead and make HCPA the law of the land"

A second, narrower, "hate crime" measure offered by Utah Republican Orrin Hatch was also passed in the Senate. The Hatch measure specifically does not include protection for crimes based on sexual orientation, gender or disability.

"The second measure is a real hatchet job, hacking-out three of the most significant motivations for the bill in the first place," said Richard Haymes, another NCAVP Steering Committee member and Executive Director of the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. "We are hopeful that in conference committee following House action, the proper focus and intent of this legislation will be restored. In light of the recent spate of highly publicized hate crimes, which include the dragging death of an African-American man in Jasper, Texas, the bludgeoning of a young gay white college student who was left to die tied to a fence in Wyoming, the shooting rampage of a white supremacist in Chicago, and the fire bombing of synagogues and double murder of two gay men by two white supremacist brothers in California, we are trusting that bipartisanship will continue in this matter, and that a truly protective law will be passed."

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