Cyndi Lauper Addresses Hate Crimes Bill
Musician Cyndi Lauper is all smiles after President Barack Obama delivered remarks following the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday (October 28) in Washington, D.C.
Obama earlier signed the $681 billion U.S. defense budget bill which included a provision that makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered in 1998 in Wyoming. Witnesses say he was targeted for being gay. Also in 1998, three white men in Texas chained James Byrd, a black man, to a pickup truck and dragged him to his death.
In a statement to JustJared.com, Cyndi says, “As a straight ally and as a person with many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members, friends and fans, I want to thank the Human Rights Campaign, Judy and Dennis Shepard and Senator Edward Kennedy for their leadership in the 11 year struggle to get the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Bill enacted. Finally, with President Obama‘s signature, violent hate crimes against the LGBT community will be recognized and prosecuted by the Federal government. This is only the beginning, I believe that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, will soon be here. Today, that light at the end of the tunnel for the LGBT civil rights movement is much brighter.”