Remembering Matthew

In the wake of a Wyoming man's murder, the Twin Cities and the nation respond

-- Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, House Democratic leader

"No law will change attitudes at a stroke of the President's pen. Nor would a hate-crime law in Wyoming have protected Shepard any more than the laws against murder, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping did. But laws are one of the ways by which a society resolves to transform itself, and they are one of the vehicles a society uses to examine and govern itself. In too many minds--it would be too many even if it were only a few--the murder of a gay man is not quite as serious as the murder of a straight one. And the murder of a gay man who dares to flirt with a straight one is, in those minds, pretty close to justifiable. If the problem were only murder, the laws against murder might be enough. But the problem is hate."

-- Editorial, Star Tribune

"Tonight...there is a story to be told. It is the story of the death of Matthew, and it is the story of your lives. Demand nothing short of fairness, accuracy, balance, and truth. Demand perspective and context. And to the reporters here tonight, let me challenge you not to marginalize gays and lesbians in your coverage. Don't cover us as a monolithic group--for we are as diverse as the rainbow suggests. And finally, when it comes to chronicling the fullness and richness of our lives--let not the coverage begin and end with our deaths."

--Karen Louise Boothe, president, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists' Association

"How can you be shocked when many people don't think twice about calling someone a fag or dyke? How can you be shocked when the sex that we have is still illegal in many states? How can you be shocked when the religious right has, for years, been waging a campaign of hate against the GLBT community? They're all steps. Steps in a progression of violence. A hate crime like this does not come out of nowhere. Our society breeds it through ignorance and hatred."

-- M.S., a University of Minnesota student

"These senseless acts of hate and violence have no place in our communities or in our nation, and we join the American people today in expressing our sense of outrage."

-- Vice President Al Gore

"Almost one year ago I proposed that Congress enact the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Our federal laws already punish some crimes committed against people on the basis of race or religion or national origin, but we should do more. This crucial legislation would strengthen and expand the ability of the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes by removing needless jurisdictional requirements for existing crimes and by giving federal prosecutors the power to prosecute hate crimes committed because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender, or disability. All Americans deserve protection from hate."

-- President Bill Clinton

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