But today, there was a fantastic victory for not only the Obama administration, but for the oppressed in modern society.
President Obama signed major civil rights legislation on Wednesday, making it a federal hate crime to assault people based on sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. The new measure expands the the scope of a 1968 law that applies to people attacked because of their race, religion or national origin. The U.S. Justice Department will have expanded authority to prosecute such crimes when local authorities don't.
The provision, called the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is attached to a defense authorization bill. It is named after Matthew Shepard, a gay college student tortured and killed in 1998, and James Byrd Jr., a black man who was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to his death the same year.
Hearing conservative Republicans shriek and moan against Hate-Crimes legislation not only solidifies that they are willing to be against anything that Democrats, liberals, and progressives are fighting for, but it creates the image that conservatives are more than willing to say that people who aren't straight, who "aren't like them" are people of lesser value, that their lives aren't as equal as others. By and large, this aspect of conservativism is filled with abject ignorance and hatred of its own.
The very idea that conservative Republicans were willing to distort the very clear and understandable meaning behind this legislation to claim that freedom of speech would not only be stiffled, but punished, is another example of how they are willing to accept the death of people like Matthew Shepard so that their places in the socio-political landscape is preserved.