Washington, D.C. – Following the adoption of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement:
“For too long, hate crimes have fragmented and isolated our communities. I am proud that the Senate has voted to protect those who are victimized simply for who they are. Hate crime prevention begins at the local level and this amendment provides our police officers and state troopers with additional federal support to better prevent and respond to allegations of hate crimes.
“Senator Kennedy has championed this legislation for over a decade and its passage is a direct result of his tireless efforts. All Americans, no matter their background, identity, or disability, deserve to live without fear and be treated with respect.”