Tag Archives: Matthew Shepard

Stop Hate Crimes

(An interesting tactic on this… – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Cross posted at DailyKos

It’s great to be back with you here at Calitics! In the past, I’ve usually blogged to ask you to help respond to an urgent crisis. Well today I’m proud to tell you about an important, hard-fought victory that we won last night.

Just before midnight Thursday, the Senate finally passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. This legislation is long overdue, and now we’re finally on the verge of getting it signed into law.

On Wednesday, I spoke out on the Senate floor about the senseless death of Matthew Shepard, a tragedy that showed us we have a long way to go before we can truly say in this country there is equal justice for all. More than 10 years ago, two men offered Matthew, a gay man, a ride in their car. Subsequently, he was robbed. He was pistol whipped. He was tortured. He was tied to a fence in a remote rural area. And he was left to die.

This was a brutal, vicious hate crime — and we’ve got to do everything in our power to make sure nothing like it ever happens again.

For nearly 10 years, our right-wing opponents have been trying to block us from passing hate crimes legislation at every turn. Again last night, they filibustered, throwing out excuse after excuse, but finally we got the 60 votes we needed to pass it.

We know our right-wing opponents are going to launch a last-ditch effort to try to stop us, and they’re not going to give up easily. So we can’t stop fighting until the bill is sent to President Obama’s desk for his signature. Please stand with me and show your support, right now — so I can share your support with my colleagues on Capitol Hill.

Click here to sign my petition in support of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act — and share your thoughts with me — so I can show my colleagues the strong grassroots support for this critical measure!

Passing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is so important. This legislation adds gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability as protected categories under our hate crimes laws and strengthens the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.

We’ve tried to pass hate crimes legislation for years. In the past, there’s always been an excuse: We do not have the time, or it is not relevant to the bill being debated.

Well, the loss Matthew Shepard’s family carries in their hearts will never disappear. But one thing we can do to ease their burden — and make sure no other families have to go through this — is enact this bill into law.

Now we all need to speak out and add our voices to make sure we make this Hate Crimes legislation the law of the land.

Click here to sign my petition in support of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act — and share your thoughts with me — so I can show my colleagues the strong grassroots support for this critical measure!

Thank you so much for giving me the honor and privilege to serve in the U.S. Senate — so I can fight for you and all Americans on such important issues like this.

Election 2008: John McCain Disdains LGBT Community and Its Issues

XPosted 2/14/2008 12:00 AM PST on MyDesert.com

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for President has little to say about the rights of the LGBT community or its issues on his campaign website at JohnMcCain.com.

Under the link “Human Dignity & the Sancitity of Life,” McCain lists (1) Overturning Roe V. Wade, (2) Promoting Adoption, (3) Protecting Marriage, (4) Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology, (5) Protecting Children from Online Predators, and (6) the Greatest Concern is to Serve the Cause of Human Dignity.  As you might guess from the above headings, McCain and his campaign is pandering to the so-called Religious Right community.

More below the flip…

More specifically, according to About.com: Gay Life, McCain has a spotty record at best on the LGBT issues themselves.

(1)  McCain on Gay Marriage: McCain opposes Marriage Equality, but believes the issue should be left up to the states.  McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, but according to McCain’s campaign website,

“[He] believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.”

I am guessing that in the case of Marriage Equality, McCain does extend his greatest concern to serve the cause of LGBT dignity or, perhaps, does not include the LGBT community within the context of the Human community.

(2) McCain on Gays and Lesbians in the Military: McCain believes the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been effective and should be left untouched.  At the 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College on Jun 3, 2007, McCain said,

“We have the best-trained, most professional, best- equipped, most efficient, most wonderful military in the history of this country, and I’m proud of every one of them. There just aren’t enough of them. So I think it would be a terrific mistake to even reopen the issue. The policy is working. And I am convinced that that’s the way we can maintain this greatest military. Let’s not tamper with them.”

How is including LGBT community members in the Armed Forces “tampering” with the military?  McCain fails to explicate his position or clarify his terminology.

Allowing LGBT community members to serve openly in the U.S. military is a matter of Human Dignity, and McCain refuses to accord respect to the LGBT community in a fashion similar to that accorded to the heterosexual community in the military.  McCain also does not address the fact that the U.S. military loses millions of dollars of tax payer money each year in attempts to enforse the DADT policies.

McCain fails to address the fact that many Arabic-English and English-Arabic translators are discharged from the U.S. military each year due to DADT.  Finally, the United States is one of the few Western countries to disallow LGBT members from serving in the its Armed Forces, yet, the military leadership is coming around to a more progressive perspective.

McCain on Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): McCain voted against ENDA and prohibiting job discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

McCain on Federal Hate Crimes Legislation: While in the Senate, McCain voted against extending the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and opposed the so-called Matthew Shepard bill on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

McCain on HIV/AIDS: McCain’s stance on HIV/AIDS is ambiguous at best. When asked in the New York Times political blog McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention about the use of contraceptives or counseling to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, McCain said,

“You’ve stumped me. I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was.”

“You’ve stumped me?”  “I’m not informed enough on it?”  “I have to find out what my position was?”  The United States, California and the Coachella Valley have been ravaged by HIV/AIDS, and McCain is either uninformed or incompetent on the issue.

How can a World Leader be unaware of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Nation?  Oh, I forgot, the Republican Party has a long history of neglect on the people affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS from former President Ronald Reagan who refused to utter the words “HIV” or “AIDS” throughout most of his Presidency, to President George H.W. Bush and so-called President George W. Bush who attempted to either reduce funding for HIV/AIDS, attempted to pit the HIV/AIDS community against other chronic illness communities, or attempted to gut HIV/AIDS programs in this country.

McCain is more of the same.  Ignorant, ill-informed, AIDS-phobic, and incompetent on the issue.