FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama, greets the parents of Matthew Shepard, Dennis and Judy, during a White House reception commemorating the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in Washington. Twenty years after Matthew Shepard's death, the federal hate crimes law bearing his name is viewed with mixed feelings by LGBT and anti-violence organizations that lobbied over nearly a decade for its passage. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Mixed views on hate crime law bearing Matthew Shepard's name

October 12, 2018 - 1:04 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Twenty years after Matthew Shepard's death , the federal hate crimes law bearing his name is viewed with mixed feelings by LGBT organizations that lobbied for it over nearly a decade.

The act was signed into law Oct. 28, 2009, about 11 years after Shepard died. The gay 21-year-old had been beaten by two Wyoming men and left tied to a rail fence.

The act expanded the 1969 federal hate-crime law to include crimes based on a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since then, some activists have been disappointed by the relatively low number of anti-LGBT cases prosecuted under the law. Others consider it a success because of its role in motivating state and local prosecutors to take anti-LGBT violence more seriously.

A leader with the New York City Anti-Violence Project says the U.S. needs broader change such as "economic justice" and better housing options for marginalized LGBT people.

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