Hate crimes occurs when a victim is intentionally selected because of her or his identity.
The most recent FBI data on hate crimes comes from 2009 and reports 8336 victims. 17.7 percent of those were targeted because of a bias against a particular sexual orientation.
Of the 1,482 victims targeted due to a sexual-orientation bias:
- 55.1 percent were victims because of an offender’s anti-male homosexual bias.
- 26.4 percent were victims because of an anti-homosexual bias.
- 15.3 percent were victims because of an anti-female homosexual bias.
- 1.8 percent were victims because of an anti-bisexual bias.
- 1.4 percent were victims because of an anti-heterosexual bias.
More information: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2010/november/hate_112210/hate_112210
SITUATION ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA)/Matthew Shepard Act (S. 909, H.R. 1913)
GREAT NEWS! The LLEHCPA was introduced in the 111th Congress by Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in the House, and its parallel Matthew Shepard Act was introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in the Senate. On April 29, 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1913 by a vote of 249-175. The U.S. Senate passed the Matthew Shepard Act by a vote of 68 to 29, and the President signed the bill into LAW on October 28, 2009! Once signed by the President, this law added sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to the categories included in existing federal hate crimes law.
The LLEHCPA strengthens existing federal hate crimes laws in the following ways:
1. Expand the law to authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Current law only includes race, color, religion or national origin.
2. Eliminate a serious limitation on federal involvement under existing law which requires that a victim of a bias-motivated crime was attacked because he/she was engaged in a specified federally-protected activity such as voting, serving on a jury or attending school.
3. Add "gender" and "gender identity" to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act (www.matthewshepard.org)
SITUATION IN ILLINOIS
Illinois hate crimes law explicitly addresses actual or perceived sexual orientation. § 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1 (2001).
Illinois law explicitly addresses actual or perceived gender under the current hate crimes law. Illinois has not yet addressed gender identity-based violence. 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1 (2001).
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Thanks to everyone who called, emailed and visited their Congressperson. This bill could not have passed without YOU.