Here’s a chance to make a difference in a few short minutes!
Thursday (tomorrow) the U.S. Senate will have a cloture vote on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S.909), which is offered as an amendment to the current Department of Defense authorization bill. From an AAUW action alert:
“Current law only allows federal involvement in the prosecution of non-federal hate crimes when the victim was targeted because of race, color, religion, or national origin. This legislation would fill a gap in the law by also allowing the Department of Justice to take on cases motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”
The more violent and hateful forms of gender-based public harassment and assault (street harassment) are what I would consider a gender-based hate crimes because the targets are selected and harassed or attacked first and foremost for being female. With all the crimes targeted at people because of their disabilities, sexual orientation, or gender, I’m amazed these characteristics aren’t already covered in this kind of law.
Here’s more from the AAUW action alert, including info on how you can help:
“The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is necessary to ensure an appropriate response when local law authorities cannot or will not give gender-based hate crime victims the protection they deserve. By strengthening protections against bias-motivated crimes and removing some restrictions on when the federal government can assist local authorities in the prosecution of such hate crimes, fewer of these disturbing cases will slip through the cracks.
To call your senators TODAY and urge them to support the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, click on the “Take Action” link in the upper right corner or copy and paste the following URL into your Internet browser. Then, follow the instructions to call your senators.
Lastly, the House already passed a companion bill in April, and President Obama is supportive of the legislation, so contact your Senators and make a difference today!