Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the following statement today on the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. Senator Reid has worked with Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act to toughen law enforcement efforts to deter hate crimes:
“Today marks the 11th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. Matthew Shepard was a young man who became a victim of a horrific crime because of his sexual orientation. In these years of pain and sorrow for the Shepard family, his parents, Dennis and Judy, have chosen to remember their son by working to open the eyes of our nation to the brutality of hate crimes through their work with the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
“I have been honored to meet with Judy Shepard on a number of occasions, and I have found her grace, strength and dignity in the face of such personal tragedy to be an inspiration. Her loss is too much for any mother to ever have to endure. Just a few months ago, I stood with her as we passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. It is my hope that the Senate will pass the Department of Defense Authorization conference report next week and that the President will shortly sign this legislation into law. Though our work on this issue can never erase the sadness caused by Matthew’s loss, we will continue to press forward to ensure that hate crimes have no place in America.”