Judy Shepard Talks Hate Crimes With ‘The Advocate’

Judy Shepard ain’t shutting up about the House’s decision to ditch hate crimes legislation. Nor should she.

It’s been ten years since Shepard’s son Matthew died in Wyoming and she won’t give up the fight to protect other people’s children. The future seemed bright this year. Yes, President Bush had vowed to veto the legislation, which passed in the Senate, but House democrats tacked hate crimes onto the Defense Authorization Act. Bush can’t resist warmongering. There seemed to be no way this plan could fail. Until it did. There were not, as Nancy Pelosi said, enough votes to “create a successful outcome in the House.”

Though she already released an official statement on the legislative loss, here Shepard sits down with The Advocate‘s Neil Broverman to talk about the tenth anniversary of Matthew’s death, her dedication and why she doesn’t blame the House of Representatives:

NB: What was the thinking when it was attached to the defense bill?

JD: I understood why they wanted to do it. Leaving it as a stand-alone bill like the House did would leave it too vulnerable. We were worried we would lose transgender if we left it as a stand-alone. I understood the philosophy there. If any bill were going to make it to the president’s desk by the end of ’07, it was going to be the one [attached to the defense bill]. I also understand the House’s logic. They’re saying, “We passed with a healthy majority as a stand-alone. We did what we were supposed to do.” And now to bring it back as something totally different, I can see why that would make a difficult path for them.

Shepard also tells Broverman that she thought Bush’s “common sense” would prevail: “I actually thought [that Bush reluctantly signing the bill] was a bigger possibility than the bill being thrown out altogether.”

Go to the Matthew Shepard Foundation for more information.