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Federal hate crime list to expand to protect gay people

5 years ago October 22, 2009 Oct 22, 2009 Thursday, October 22 2009 Thursday, October 22, 2009 2:59:47 PM EDT in News
Source: Associated Press

Physical attacks on people based on their sexuality or gender will join the list of federal hate crimes.  It's a major expansion of a civil rights-era law, which protects people against hate crimes based on their race, religion, or national origin.

Congress approved the measure Thursday and sent it to President Obama.  It is named for Matthew
Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was brutally murdered 11 years ago. 

Democratic supporters assured the bill's passage by attaching it to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill.

The measure also provides federal grants to help state and local governments prosecute hate crimes, and it helps fund programs to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.

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