Senate Democrats said on Monday that they would seek to broaden the federal hate crimes law to protect victims of attacks based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disabilities.
To lift the chances of passage, Democrats said the legislation, known as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, would be attached as an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill – a must-pass measure.
The proposal is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was tied to a fence, beaten and left to die in 1998.
The Senate approved the legislation last year, also as part of the military authorization bill, but it was never reconciled with a similar House-passed bill.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that he would introduce the bill as a bipartisan amendment to the defense authorization m
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