hate crimes

Elizabeth's picture

Long Island Gay And Lesbian Youth Center Vandalized

Two nights ago someone (or some group) vandalized the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Center (LIGALY). The front door was shattered as were the windows on the van that LIGALY uses to help teenagers get to the Center for meetings and social events. Nothing was stolen. It was clearly an act intended to send a message rather than for any kind of personal gain.

LIGALY (pronounced "legally") is one of my favorite Long Island organizations. It was started by David Kilmnick, who I'm proud to say is a friend of mine. He began with nothing but an idea for a project as he worked toward his Masters in Social Work and built one of the most powerful and wide-reaching LGBT organizations on the Island. (He also got his Doctorate in Social Work along the way.) LIGALY now serves not only young people but also LGBT seniors, offering social, educational, and support services. Its Safe Schools Initiative helps counter homophobia in schools, and offers organizing assistance to students wanting to start or maintain Gay Straight Alliances in their schools.  

The good news is that there has been an enormous show of support for LIGALY. David reports thatthere have been phone calls, blog entries, news stories, and even a letter from Governor Paterson. Most importantly just since yesterday there have been enough donations to help get the Center's door fixed and its van back in service.

And then there's the bad news.

Elizabeth's picture

Congress Kills Matthew Shepard Bill by attaching it to Military Funding Bill

How to kill the Matthew Shepard Act without really trying:

The Matthew Shepard Act passed the House of Representatives pretty easily, but it was in trouble at the Senate. The Senate's solution? Insert it into a Pentagon funding bill. (Yes, they really did this.) That got enough Republican suport to allow the bill to pass in the Senate. Here's the catch: Now, the combined bill can't get past the House. Two reasons: Conservative Republicans don't like the hate crimes provision and liberal Democrats don't like the military spending bill:

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was widely supported by Democrats and some moderate Senate Republicans. But because it was attached to a major defense policy bill that would have authorized more money for the Iraq war, many anti-war Democrats said they would oppose it.

''We don't have the votes,'' said one House Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because conference negotiations on the defense bill were ongoing. ''We're about 40 votes short, not four or six.''

So, they dropped the hate crimes provision in order to pass the spending bill.

Perversely, today I'm headed down to DC. Fortunately I'll be with teachers and union leadership folks and not with politicians.

Click here to read the New York Times story .

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