Hate crime bill should be passed

Hate crime bill should be passed

KEVIN TENGESDAL Bismarck Jun 12, 2007

In a hard-won victory, hate crimes legislation has passed the House of Representatives. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate – where the radical right, terrified of this legislation, has stepped up its attacks.

As a North Dakota resident, and as a supporter of the Human Rights Campaign, I am deeply concerned about hate crimes, and I am writing to ask that people encourage their senators to represent the interests of North Dakota by supporting the Matthew Shepard Act.

Americans overwhelmingly approve of legislation to prevent hate violence. In fact, roughly three in four (or 68 percent) support expanding hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and giving local law enforcement the tools and resources they need to investigate and prosecute these tragic acts of bigotry.

I am confident that Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan will champion the will of voters in North Dakota and the majority of Americans, and bring our federal hate crime laws into the 21st century, by ensuring that all of our citizens are protected against senseless hate violence.

While a random act of violence against any individual is always a tragic event, we know that violent crimes based on prejudice are meant to terrorize an entire community.

As Americans, we must defend our neighbors, our families, our friends and ourselves from becoming victims of bias-motivated violence.


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