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April 23, 2009


With hate crimes against gays, lesbians and transgenders rising at alarming rates across the country, it's more important than ever to get the federal hate crimes law (the Matthew Shepard Act) passed - NOW.

This morning I received an email from Joe Solmonese, the President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), asking for immediate help in getting this legislation, which is up for a vote next week, passed once and for all.

According to Solmonese,

This week, the right-wing Traditional Values Coalition blanketed Congress with a "fact sheet" saying the Matthew Shepard Act would protect "bizarre sexual orientations" like bestiality and necrophilia.

Once again, facts have nothing to do with it. Dozens of states have hate crime laws, and none get into this nonsense.

But these arguments can make members of Congress uneasy about voting for the bill – and we've heard repeatedly that right-wing groups have been FLOODING Congress with calls.

Please take just a minute (or less) and call your Representative's Office. If you don't know who that is or what number to call, click here for help in finding that out. Just fill in the state and your zip code and the name and contact information (w/phone numbers) will come up.

When you call, just tell the staff member answering the phone where you're calling from, and that you'd like to urge your Representative to work hard to pass the Matthew Shepard Act next week. If you choose, you can also add:

•Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise. One out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim's sexual orientation.

•Hate crimes have more than one victim. They are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities.

•The Matthew Shepard Act targets only violent acts – not speech. It does not tell any clergy member what he or she can or can't preach.

Solmonese is also requesting that after you hang up, please let them know that you made the call. That will help HRC track how many members of Congress have been reached.


According to Lez Get Real, the Matthew Shepard Act (HR 1913) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday (Thursday, 4/23/09) by a vote of 15-12. It will now move to the House floor for a vote expected to take place sometime next week.

If you haven't already, please email or call your representative and urge them to vote for this legislation when it does come up for a vote. See above for instructions.