Statement by the President: Hate Crimes Legislation (10/5/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                            October 5,

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today, the Republican leadership made a serious mistake by stripping
the hate crimes legislation from the Department of Defense Authorization
bill, despite strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.   The
Republican leaders have turned their backs on legislation designed to send
the message that all persons should be treated the same under the law -- no
matter what their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual
orientation, or disability.

     This legislation would enhance the Federal government's ability to
prosecute violent crimes motivated by race, color, religion, or national
origin and would authorize Federal prosecution of crimes motivated by
sexual orientation, gender, or disability.  This legislation also
recognizes that State and local law enforcement still have primary
responsibility for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.

     It has been over two years since the brutal dragging death of James
Byrd, Jr., and about two years since the heinous death of young Mathew
Shepard.  We owe their families - and all the families of hate crimes
victims across this country - no less than to pass this legislation this
year.  Working with the bipartisan coalition that supports hate crimes
legislation, I will continue to fight the Republican leadership in Congress
to make sure this important work gets done this year.


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