Virginia Foxx: Matthew Shepard's Murder Not a Hate Crime
Updated, 6:21 p.m. ET
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has done it again. Earlier this month she dropped the racially charged term "tar baby" on the House floor. Today, she said the murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in 1998 was not a hate crime.
"It's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing [hate crimes] bills," Foxx said on the House floor during debate on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Foxx opposes a bill being considered that would extend federal hate crimes protections to cover crimes committed because of a person's gender, sexual orientation or disability.
She called Shepard's murder a "very unfortunate incident" but said "we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay."
And guess who was in the House gallery to hear Foxx say this? Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy, according to Democratic sources.
To refresh your memory on what happened to her son> two men tied the University of Wyoming college freshman to a fence and savagely pistol whipped and beat him to death. Before doing it, one of the killers tauntingly said to Shepard, "It's Gay Awareness Week."
Ironically, Foxx is part of a GOP leadership team tasked with finding embarrassing, "You-Tube worthy moments" of vulnerable Democratic freshmen and sophomores.
Here's what gay liberal blogger John Arivosis has to say about Foxx's comments. Stay tuned: there will be plenty more outrage from the gay rights community.
UPDATE: The Human Rights Campaign, a leading Washington based gay-rights group, is furious with Congresswoman Foxx.
"Vile lies, like the one spread by Rep. Foxx today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about Matthew's brutal hate-fueled murder, continues to underscore how extreme anti-LGBT opponents have become," says Brad Luna, a spokesman for HRC. "It is no longer acceptable in this day and age to just come right out and say you don't like gay people. Instead, extremist opponents of equality must resort to these types of malicious and twisted lies. Rep. Foxx should be ashamed of herself."
HRC also notes the following groups have endorsed the hate-crimes bill opposed by Foxx: the National Sheriffs Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; 26 state Attorneys General; the National District Attorneys Association; the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; the Anti-Defamation League; the NAACP; the National Council of La Raza; the Presbyterian Church; the Episcopal Church; and the National Disability Rights Network.
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