The House Republican Conference, made up of members of the U.S. House of Representatives Republican leadership, has proudly claimed responsibility for having “stopped” passage of the Hate Crimes Bill.
In a document obtained by Wired Strategies, the group allegedly stated that the negative fate of the legislation is “a win for conservative priorities” and a strike against President Clinton.
This statement directly contradicts those made by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s staff concerning the Hate Crimes Bill. Lott’s staff insisted the act would not pass because Congress did not have the time to review it.
National attention surrounding the death of gay student Matthew Shepard, a textbook example of a hate crime, led to public pressure to pass anti-hate crime legislation before the current Congress adjourns. Close to 100 vigils have been held in the US and Canada to honor Matthew Shepard and to address the frequent occurrence of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in the United States.
As the Hate Crimes Bill was being passed over in Congress, a Time/CNN poll issued findings that 75% of Americans take seriously the problem of violence against homosexuals in the US.