Task Force Action Fund hails U.S. House passage of federal hate crimes legislation

April 29, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, April 29 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund hails the U.S. House's passage today of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913), which includes a key provision that would expand existing federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Task Force has been a key leader in the effort to secure an effective and full government response to hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, beginning with the launch of its groundbreaking anti-violence project in 1982, up to today's victory in the House. Get more details here about the Task Force's longtime work on hate crimes.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

"Our country is on the cusp of recognizing and responding to the reality of hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is a national embarrassment that bigotry and ignorance have prevented enactment of substantive federal hate crimes legislation, but that goal is finally, truly, within our grasp.

"Laws embody the values of our nation, and through this legislation the House is clearly and unequivocally saying that America rejects and condemns hate violence against its people. The importance of this cannot be overstated, particularly in light of the toxic misinformation campaign that has been waged against the bill by right-wing forces who would rather see anti-LGBT crimes go unaddressed than have the words 'sexual orientation' or 'gender identity' appear alongside other protected classes in federal law.

"We thank all the House members who voted for this bill today. We urge the administration to help usher this critical legislation through the Senate, and for President Obama to then quickly sign the legislation, as he has signaled he will do."

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.