I was over in the Capitol today to get an update on what’s happening in the Senate on a couple of LGBT issues.
First, the Hate Crimes bill will be on the Senate floor this week as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. That’s the same vehicle to which hate crimes was attached in September of 2007, when it broke a filibuster by receiving 60 votes. There will probably be another filibuster attempt, meaning we’ll need 60 votes again — but there should be even more yes-votes this time. DoD authorization is a must-pass bill, which is why Hate Crimes is being added to it. In 2007, then-President Bush promised a veto of the Defense authorization bill if hate crimes was attached. Actually, Bush vowed to veto the Hate Crimes bill period. We don’t have that problem this year. There are complications, of course, but I get the sense that the House and Senate really want this one to pass soon. (Note to all: Pressure matters.)
Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, appeared with Majority Leader Harry Reid at a press briefing in the Capitol this afternoon to push for passage of the bill. She’s been working on it for years. I had never met Judy before, but I really felt like I was in the presence of a hero. Here are her remarks:
So expect a vote this week. And, here’s the statement for the Majority Leader.