11 years after Matthew Shepard was beaten to death, US finally passes Hate Crime Bill

How can it be 2009 and we still do not have equal human rights for all US Citizens?

Today I met Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard.  I remember the day in October 1998 when Matthew was found, beaten nearly to death, tied like Christ to an x-bar fence out in Laramie, Wyoming.  My own sons were 6 and 4 and I was horrified that someone was so homophobic that they literally beat a good kid to death, simply because he was gay.

Judy’s new book, “The Meaning of Matthew” puts a human face on Matt and tells the story of their family awakening into action after his death.

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I always wished I could have a gay kid, because I believe that you are supposed to live fully as you were born to live, no ifs ands or buts.  God doesn’t make mistakes: you’re born who you are because the world needs you to bring forth your special abilities, to help your community live fully.  Interestingly, none of my kids are gay or lesbian, but I’m trying to raise them aware that all people are fine, as they are.

Can you believe its 2009 and it took Ted Kennedy’s death (he has always advocated for the Hate Crime Bill and equal rights for all) and adding the Hate Crime bill to a military spending bill to get it passed?

How barbaric are we, that it takes 11 years after the brutal death of an innocent to make such a change, that our politicians still live in fear of standing up for what’s right?

Its odd enough that we don’t naturally allow people to be who they are, but the fact that we still have to FIGHT to get equal rights for all seems so UN-AMERICAN.

Parents are still raising their kids with hatred for people they do not know or understand.  Religious groups insist that the US is a Judeo-Christian country, yet Jesus never beat a young gay man to death.  If you use Jesus’ life as your North Star, you cannot judge or harm someone for living as God made them.

To me, the meaning of Matthew Shepard is not just that gays deserve the same legal protection as straights.  Its that we’ve become so barbaric that the violent beating death of a young innocent man is still not enough to get the US to be fair and equal.  We’re very un-Christ-like.

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