The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act is here, it’s queer, and Obama is just getting used to it.
Some 150 guests — including AG Eric Holder, Defense Sec. Robert Gates, families of James Byrd and Matthew Shepard (whose name the White House misspelled in a release), Ted Kennedy’s widow Vicki, VP Biden, Sens. Carl Lein Patrick Leahy, and Rep. Jerry Nadler — stood by Obama as he said yes to real, live federal LGBT legislation.
For the first time in America’s history.
Hi statement in part:
So today I’m pleased to say that we have proved that change is possible. It may not come quickly, or all at once, but if you push hard enough, it does come eventually.
Now, speaking of that, there is one more long-awaited change contained within this legislation that I’ll be talking about a little more later today. After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we’ve passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are. (Applause.)
I promised Judy Shepard, when she saw me in the Oval Office, that this day would come, and I’m glad that she and her husband Dennis could join us for this event. I’m also honored to have the family of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought so hard for this legislation. And Vicki and Patrick, Kara, everybody who’s here, I just want you all to know how proud we are of the work that Ted did to help this day — make this day possible. So — and thank you for joining us here today.
UPDATE: Obama speaks at the reception this evening in D.C.: