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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 12, 2000


Today marks two years since young Matthew Shepard was beaten unconscious, tied to a fence, and left to die. At the time of Matthew's death, I expressed my sympathy for the family, and my outrage about the heinous nature of the crime. Since then, Matthew's death has been a call to action to many across the country committed to doing more to prevent and prosecute hate crimes. Many have worked tirelessly, along with my Administration, to pass meaningful hate crimes legislation this year. Their efforts led to two strong bipartisan votes -- one in the House and one in the Senate -- in favor of hate crimes legislation. Unfortunately, just last week, the Republican leadership -- denying the will of a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate -- stripped hate crimes legislation from the Department of Defense Authorization bill. This action is wrong and the will of the majority should be respected. We must not let the fear of people different from ourselves prevent this legislation from passing. Working with the bipartisan coalition that supports hate crimes legislation, I will continue to fight to make sure this important work gets done.