Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

President Obama Meets Judy Shepard at White House

SHEPARD_OBAMAWashington, DC – President Barak Obama met Judy Shepard, mother of slain gay son, Matthew Shepard, in the Oval Office of the White House, according to Jon Barrett of The Advocate.  President Obama affirmed his support of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act still pending action in the United States Senate.  The House version of the bill has already passed by a wide margin.  While a Senator, President Obama voted in favor of the act, and told Mrs. Shepard that he would sign it once it reaches his desk.  Though brief, the meeting was a significant indication of the support of this president for justice for LGBT people and their families and friends.  The Obama administration has been criticized for moving slowly on LGBT issues.  Former White House aide to President Bill Clinton, David Mixner, for example, is calling for a march on Washington to pressure the president to follow through on his support for the LGBT community, such as the repeal of DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) and of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).  Critics point out that other groups who helped elect President Obama have already received significant support and legislation, such as women, blacks, and hispanics.  The LGBT vote went heavily in favor of the president in the November general election, playing a significant role in swinging states into the Democratic column in the case of Florida, Indiana, and North Carolina, where slim margins suggest the necessity of the queer vote.  Shepard counseled patience with the president today.  “We are victims of our own hope,” she says. “These bills are going to get passed, it’s just going to take time and work.”  For now, Shepard is calling on citizens to call their Senators to urge them for passage of the Shepard Act when it comes to floor of the Senate.  She also calls on friends of anti-LGBT Hate Crimes legislation across the country to discourage Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada from attaching the Shepard Act to a Defense Department Appropriations Bill, which she believes will hurt its chances of passage.

May 20, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Washington, D.C., women | , , ,

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