TEP action alert: Matthew Shepard Act Call Your Senators

Dear Valerie,

SENATE TO VOTE SHORTLY ON MATTHEW SHEPARD ACT:
Call Your US Senators Today in Support of the Bill.

Senate Files Hate Crimes Bill for Potential Vote Today

‘Matthew Shepard Act’ Submitted as Amendment to Defense Reauthorization; Over 1,300 Clergy Sign on to Letter of Support

WASHINGTON – This morning, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) filed the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1105) as an amendment for consideration to the Department of Defense Reauthorization currently being debated before the U.S. Senate. The bill, commonly referred to as the “Hate Crimes Bill”, could receive a Senate vote as early as today. The virtually identical House version of the bill passed overwhelmingly on May 3rd, 2007 with a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180—with more than 20 Republicans voting in support of the bill.

Anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family—founded by James Dobson—have mobilized a dangerously misinformed grassroots army. If we don’t call right now, critical votes could be lost to these scare tactics being employed by the radical right.

CALL SENATORS ALEXANDER AND CORKER RIGHT NOW: Let them know you support the Matthew Shepard Act

Below is the message we would like you to tell both your Senators—You will almost certainly speak to a member of the Senator’s staff, not the Senators

As a Tennessee voter I want you to know that I strongly support Passage of the Matthew Shepard Act (S. 1105).This bill does NOT threaten the free speech of ministers or Churches or weaken the Constitution. This bill would only apply to violent attacks based on the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. It would also provide funding to help law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute violent hate crimes. This legislation has been endorsed by over 230 civic, religious, and law enforcement organizations. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my support for the Matthew Shepard Act.

You can call Senator Lamar Alexander at (202) 224-4944 and Senator Bob Corker at (202) 224-3344.

The radical right knows the Matthew Shepard Act is a real step toward tolerance in America. They find that so infuriating, they’ll stop at nothing to bring it down—even if it means calling lawmakers to spread anger fueled by lies.

We cannot allow our Senators to be intimidated, misled, or swayed by an extremist minority. Thank you for making your calls, and thank you for being a voice of reason today.

Thank you for calling your US Senators.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Tennessee Equality Project Action Center.

This message was sent to avalonfarms@hughes.net.

info@tnequalityproject.com tnep.org 615-664-6886

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “TEP action alert: Matthew Shepard Act Call Your Senators

  1. First Freedom First Supports the Matthew Shepard Act

    America is a country full of people of a variety of faiths, gender identities, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and abilities. This broad spectrum of backgrounds is perhaps our greatest strength. First Freedom First is a campaign that promotes a respect for all these identities, as well as a separation of church and state.

    In the United States, approximately one hate crime is reported every hour, and countless others go unreported. When someone is targeted because of their identity, the crime is not only dehumanizing to them, but dehumanizing to their community. Often local law enforcement does not have the time or resources to fully investigate each hate crime. The Matthew Shepard Act would give federal authorities greater abilities to engage in hate crime investigations. The bill would also expand previous hate crime legislation to include protection for people of all races, abilities, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities.

    First Freedom First promotes respect for all families and sexual orientations, and an end to religious discrimination. People should have the freedom to practice whatever religion they choose, and love whomever they choose, without fear of hatred or bigotry. Due to their narrow-minded religious beliefs, some people would rather not protect those of certain sexual orientations or religious backgrounds. It is un-American, and a violation of separation of church and state, to let narrow religious beliefs deny protection for entire communities.

    If you care about separation of church and state, and respect for all religions and identities, check out http://www.firstfreedomfirst.org.

  2. Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition

    P.O. Box 92335, Nashville, TN 37209
    http://ttgpac.com
    TTGPAC@aol.com
    Phone: 615-293-6199
    FAX: 615-353-1834

    For Immediate Release: Dated July 12, 2007

    Senate Files Hate Crimes Bill for Potential Vote Today

    ‘Matthew Shepard Act’ Submitted as Amendment to Defense Reauthorization; Over 1,300 Clergy Sign on to Letter of Support

    WASHINGTON – This morning, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) filed the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1105) as an amendment for consideration to the Department of Defense Reauthorization currently being debated before the U.S. Senate. The bill, commonly referred to as the “Hate Crimes Bill”, could receive a Senate vote as early as today. The virtually identical House version of the bill passed overwhelmingly on May 3rd, 2007 with a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180 – with more than 20 Republicans voting in support of the bill.

    The State of Tennessee Hate Crimes law does not cover gender identity or expression. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) joins many other groups across the nation in support of S.1105. It is time to send a message that violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will not be tolerated. The board and members of TTPC encourage all to contact members of the United States Senate and ask them to vote “Yes” on the Matthew Shepard Act. Tennessee’s Senators are:

    Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
    Bob Corker 202-224-3344

    “Without any further delay, it’s time for Congress to provide local police and sheriffs’ departments with the tools and resources they need to ensure that entire communities are not terrorized by hate violence,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “On behalf of the overwhelming majority of the American people, we stand today and urge the US Senate to pass the Matthew Shepard Act and send a strong message that hate violence against any American will no longer be tolerated.”
    “The Matthew Shepard Act sends a strong message to America that hate and the violent crimes committed in its wake are not acceptable in our society. This crucial piece of legislation is an important step in the ongoing effort to erase hate. I cannot think of a single more resounding action for the Senate to take in our son Matthew’s memory,” said Judy Shepard, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

    The Matthew Shepard Act is supported by more than 290 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations. Some of those supporting organizations include the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 26 state attorneys general, the National District Attorneys Association, the NAACP, the Episcopal Church, the League of Women Voters, the YWCA of the USA and the United Methodist Church.

    The Human Rights Campaign, along with a coalition of organizations including the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Interfaith Alliance, and the Religious Action Center released a list today of more than 1,300 faith leaders who have signed on to a letter urging passage of the Matthew Shepard Act (S. 1105) in the U.S. Senate – a bill that would update the current hate crimes law. The 1,385 faith leaders signing the letter represents a broad spectrum of religious voices urging passage of a hate crimes bill that is expected for a Senate vote in the near future. Read the complete letter at http://www.clergyagainsthate.org
    In addition to the letter, the Human Rights Campaign, along with the Leadership Council on Civil Rights and the National Black Justice Coalition, has also published a full page ad in Wednesday’s edition of Roll Call. The ad features a theologically diverse group of black clergy representing tens of thousands of Americans speaking out in support of proposed hate crimes legislation. To view the ad, please go to: http://www.hrc.org/fighthate/clergyad
    According to the FBI, somewhere in this country a hate crime is being committed once every hour and one in six of those crimes are because of the victim’s sexual orientation. These hate crimes terrorize entire communities and violate America’s core democratic principles that all citizens are created equal and are afforded equal protection under the law.

    In 2007 alone, numerous hate crimes against GLBT persons have been documented in the State of Tennessee. On January 7, Nakia Baker, a transgender woman living in Nashville, was found shot to death in a parking lot. On February 27, a transgender man living in Chattanooga was physically beaten by a neighbor. He had filed complaints before this and had only received insults and threats from the Chattanooga Police Department. Despite witnesses identifying the assailants, the Chattanooga Police Department have made no arrests. On March 29, a teenaged gay male student at Cumberland County High School was brutally beaten by a fellow student. School officials were forced to use a taser on the student doing the beating in order to stop it. On April 5, a gay male resident of McMinnville found death threats and other hateful statements written on his home. Additional threats were made on May 19. On April 18, anti-GLBT graffiti was written across the campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin while the same day, a high school student at David Crockett High School in Jonesborough was suspended for raising awareness of anti-GLBT violence.

    This legislation would help combat hate crimes across America by doing two important things: updating the federal hate crimes laws to include all Americans, and providing new resources and tools to assist local law enforcement in prosecuting these vicious crimes.
    In addition to this year’s overwhelming, bipartisan vote in the House to support this legislation, both the Senate and House have voted in favor of legislation to combat bias motivated violence in prior Congresses. In the 108th Congress, the Senate passed the measure by an overwhelming vote of 65-33, with 18 Senate Republicans voting yes.
    The Human Rights Campaign has produced an award winning video focusing on passage of the Matthew Shepard Act that has been viewed over 360,000 times on YouTube – making it the most watched HRC video to date. To view the video, please go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOqlrHgrSgc
    __

    Please call Senators Lamar Alexander (202-224-4944) and Bob Corker (202-224-3344) today and ask them to vote “Yes” on the Matthew Shepard Act.

    Marisa Richmond
    President
    __

    The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

    For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

    Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
    P.O. Box 92335
    Nashville, TN 37209
    http://ttgpac.com
    TTGPAC@aol.com
    (615)293-6199
    (615)353-1834 fax

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