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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 13, 1999


It has been a year since the murder of Matthew Shepard, and two years since I first proposed to strengthen the nation's hate crime laws. During this time, hundreds of Americans have been injured or killed, simply because of who they are. In response to this epidemic of violence, people around the country have joined me in calling on Congress to pass this important legislation.

Earlier this year, the Senate passed my legislation, which, if enacted, would strengthen current law by making it easier to prosecute crimes based on race, color, religion and national origin and by expanding coverage to include crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability.

Congress has the opportunity to complete work on that legislation and to send it to me for signature. I call on Congress to do the right thing and enact hate crime legislation before the end of this session. The nation cannot afford to wait.