"The FBI reported more than 7,600 hate crime incidents in 2007, down about 1 percent from last year," the Associated Press reported this morning. "The decline was driven by decreases in the two largest categories of hate crimes — crimes against race and religion. . . . But prejudice against sexual orientation, the third-largest category, increased about 6 percent, the report found."
A decade after the brutal attack on Matthew Shepard . . . more than a year after the anti-gay attack on Sean Kennedy . . . and following a recent report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs showing that hate crimes against the LGBT community increased 24 percent nationwide . . . the evidence is overwhelming: The United States must pass, and the President must sign, comprehensive hate crimes legislation. Now.
PFLAG is proud to have partnered with Sean Kennedy's mother to launch a petition calling on Senators to pass The Matthew Shepard Act. To date, more than 9,000 Americans have signed our letter to Congress, demanding that they take action to protect our LGBT loved ones. (If you haven't already signed on, just click here.)
While today's AP story notes that the FBI did "not assign a cause for the slight overall . . . increase in anti-gay hate crimes," the first step towards decreasing those crimes is to take them seriously. And nothing shows how serious lawmakers are more than passing legislation to protect the community.
With each attack on our community, our families and our loved ones, we get too many more reasons to be outraged that the law we need has yet to be passed.