Thursday, September 27, 2007

More good news

The Matthew Shepard Act, which would update the federal hate crimes laws to include acts of violence against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, passed the Senate:
Senators voted Thursday morning to give the federal government more jurisdiction to prosecute hate crimes and included protections for gay, lesbian and transgender victims, attaching the measure to an annual defense policy bill.

Sixty Senators -- just enough to override a Republican filibuster -- voted to attach the Matthew Shepard Act, named for the gay Wyoming college student murdered in 1998, as an amendment to the 2008 Department of Defense authorization bill. The measure was sponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Gordon Smith, R-Ore.


Thirty-nine Republicans opposed the bill. Sen. John McCain was the only absent senator.

Republicans who supported the amendment were: Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, George Voinovich of Ohio and John Warner of Virginia.

The House has passed a similar bill, so differences between the two still need to be reconciled. And Bush has threatened to veto it (I suppose to prove what a compassionate conservative he is), but still. Great news.

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