Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today honored the memory of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student murdered in Wyoming this week. Rep. Pelosi made her comments during debate on the resolution expressing the Sense of the House with Respect to the Brutal Killing of Mr. Matthew Shepard.
"I want to speak as one who has the privilege of representing a district with a large number of gay and lesbian people. They are a part of the success of our community; they help build our community. So when I hear people talk about tolerance for gay and lesbian people, it's interesting to me because in our community, tolerance is an issue of long ago. Certainly we tolerate, that isn't even the issue; we respect our gay and lesbian community. More than that, we take great pride in each and every one of them and collectively in the contribution they make to our community in San Francisco and, indeed, to our great country," Pelosi said.
"And so, it is such a tragedy when a young man has the courage to be open about who he is, and his life is taken for it. What more needs to happen? How many more deaths, how many assaults on the personal integrity of people, physically and otherwise, need to happen before this Congress will see the need for hate crimes legislation?, Pelosi said."
According to statistics kept by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs, at least 18 Americans were murdered in 1997 because they were gay or lesbian. Also last year, there were more than 2400 reports of anti-gay or lesbian incidents in the United States.
Rep. Pelosi is a cosponsor of H.R. 3081, The Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
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