Equality California, the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California, hailed the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal law combating hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Earlier this year, Equality California sponsored companion resolutions that call on the United States Congress to immediately pass and President Obama to sign the Matthew Shepard Act, which expands the landmark 1969 United States federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s real or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The federal bill is named after Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student who was targeted, tortured and brutally murdered by two men in 1998 because of his sexual orientation.

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