Friday, May 1, 2009

In Honor of Matthew...

On April 29th, after debating the issue, the U.S. House of Representatives approved, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA), also known as the Matthew Shepard Act by a vote of 249 to 175.

In the midst of the debate, with Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, in the Visitors Gallery to hear every word, Republican Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina’s 5th District resorted to outright lies to try to stop passage of the LLEHCPA:

“…I also would like to point out that there was a bill -- the hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. This…the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that…that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills…”

Rachel Maddow had a chance to speak exclusively with Judy Shepard after the vote about how she felt about what the US House had done & to comment on Rep. Foxx’s reprehensible mis-characterization of her son:

Being me, I examined the results of that House vote & thought I’d share it here.

Of the 256 Democrats currently in the US House:

231 Voted FOR the Matthew Shepard Act
17 Voted AGAINST

There is also a vacancy in California’s 32nd District at present, due to Rep. Hilda Solis (D) being appointed as President Obama’s Labor Secretary. A special election in the district will be held on July 14, 2009 to select Ms. Solis's replacement for the remainder of her term.

Of the 178 Republicans in the US House:

18 Voted FOR The Matthew Shepard Act
158 Voted AGAINST

It’s also interesting to note where the 17 Democrats who voted against the LLEHCPA came from:

3 came from the Midwestern States
1 came from the Northeastern States
NONE of the Democrats from Western States voted against

As for the Republicans who voted in favor of the LLEHCPA:

2 came from Midwestern States
7 came from the Northeastern States
5 came from the Southern States
4 came from the Western States

Next stop for the Matthew Shepard Act is the U.S. Senate. Not sure what the prospects in the Senate are right now, but I’m feeling more hopeful now than I have in the past…oh…8 years or so.

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