We're going to be trying a new feature today, Point/Counterpoint. Hopefully this will go well and we'll have a weekly line-up of debaters on various subjects of interest to LGBTQ people.
Today's topic is the Matthew Shepard Act, with Mercedes Allen arguing in favor and Yasmin Nair against it. Their posts will come up shortly.
Let's try to keep the debate lively and refrain from getting personal in the comments. If any contributors out there want to participate in this feature, please send me an email and we'll have words.
A brief description of the Matthew Shepard Act, aka the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, after the jump.
The Matthew Shepard Act (officially, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 or LLEHCPA), H.R. 1592 was a proposed federal bill that would expand the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The bill would also:
- remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school;
- give federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
- provide $10 million in funding for 2008 and 2009 to help State and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
- require the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for the other groups are already tracked).