Affirmation Celebrates Signing of Hate Crimes Act

For Immediate Release, Wednesday November 4, 2009

By Affirmation Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
Queer Concerns, celebrates that President Obama has signed into law the
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. It's time
that a nation that promises "liberty and justice for all" ensures justice
for all people.

No one chooses to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. And what
of people who are perceived as LGBTQ and aren't? Are they not deserving of
hate crimes protection as well? How about persons with different colored
skin? We must have legal protection against people perpetrating hate crimes
against anyone. Or persons of a different faith, or those from another
country?

The news about the attack on Matthew Shepard broke as the Affirmation
Council gathered in Portland for the fall 1998 council meeting. That a
likeable young man was tortured, pistol whipped, and left to die on a fence,
cast a pall over the council gathering and over the entire country.

Just as shocking was the death of James Byrd, Jr. on June 7, 1998. That in
this day and age a human being could be chained to the back of a pickup
truck and dragged until dead and dismembered is almost beyond comprehension.

It's also shocking that the U. S. House and Senate have taken 11 years to
pass this legislation and get it to the President's desk. One would think
this legislation would have already been in place when these attacks took
place. Or that it would have been in place shortly thereafter when the lack
became apparent.

It's been a long time since Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. died. It's
time for us as a country to go on record that hate crimes against LGBTQ
people or even those perceived as LGBTQ are wrong. It's time for us as a
country to go on record that hate crimes against people of any racial,
religious, or national group are wrong. We know that the law itself is not
an end. It's just the beginning.



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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer
people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming
gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church
as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and
Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization
with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

How to Contact Us:

email: Uumaffirmation_at_yahoo.com Affirmation

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