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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 3, 1999


Today's verdict closes a chapter in the tragic story of the killing of Matthew Shepard. Although the verdict cannot bring Matthew back, perhaps it will bring some sense of closure to Dennis and Judy Shepard, as well as other family and friends of Matthew. The First Lady and I offer our prayers for them, and our hope that their memories of Matthew's life will sustain them in the difficult time ahead.

This verdict is a dramatic statement that we are determined to have a tolerant, law-abiding nation that celebrates our differences, rather than despising them. Our nation must unite in outrage against hate-based violence. We cannot surrender to those on the fringe of our society who lash out at those who are different. Their crimes impose a particular cost on society by tearing at the social fabric. It is my continued hope that together, as a nation, we will work to repair that fabric.