Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today following passage of The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which will strengthen the ability of federal and local law enforcement officials to prosecute hate crimes.
“Today the Senate sends a clear message that crimes motivated by hate will not be tolerated in America, and that such offenses will be prosecuted with vigor. As a nation dedicated to the ideals of equality and mutual understanding, we have a special responsibility to combat bigotry that takes the form of violence.
“This bill strengthens existing federal authority to prosecute hate crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion, and adds new authority for the federal government to combat crimes based on sexual orientation and other protected categories. And it honors the memory of Matthew Shepard, the young Wyoming man who was brutally murdered for who he was, and all other victims of hate crimes.”