opportunity to be threatened, humiliated and to live in fear of being beaten to death is
the only 'special right' our culture bestows on homosexuals."
- Diane Carman, Denver Post
Matthew Shepard Online Resources Archive
|Wed Oct 14, 1998 -
5:20PM EDT - BUSY NIGHT: DC VIGIL, ABC NEWS, 20/20, NIGHTLINE
Tonight at 7PM, there will be a vigil for Matthew Shepard at the west side of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. The event is hosted by HRC, GLAAD and NGLTF. Special guests will include Ellen Degeneres, Ellen's mom Betty, and Anne Heche. As can dles are not allowed on the Capitol grounds, attendees are urged to bring glow sticks and other lighted objects - in addition, there should be some additional glow sticks available. Check back here later this evening for coverage of the DC vigil and, if the digital camera works, pictures online.
Note from John of Wired Strategies:
"'Hate crimes laws have nothing to do with
perpetrators of violent crime and everything to do with silencing political opposition,'
said Steven Schwalm, an analyst with the Family Research Council, a Washington group
dedicated to defendin g faith, family and freedom. 'It would criminalize pro-family
beliefs,' Schwalm said....'This basically sends a message that you can't disagree with the
political message of homosexual activists.'" - From the New York Times, October 13,
1998, "Gay Stude nt Who Was Kidnapped and Beaten Dies".
A few questions from John of Wired Strategies:
CONTACT INFO: The Family Research Council has
disconnected their main email account, but they say on their Web site that: "If you
have a message or request of a time-dated or urgent nature, we ask that you call our order
line at 800-225-4 008."
Wed Oct 14, 1998 - 10:10AM EDT - FRANK RICH
(NYT) SLAMS MILITANT FUNDAMENTALISTS
This particular press conference was to announce
a new barrage of ads -- a TV follow-up to a summer print campaign -- in which alleged
former homosexuals who have "changed" implore others to do likewise
"through the power of Jesus Christ." The commerci als, gooey in style, end with
a slogan: "It's not about hate -- It's about hope."
But it's really about stirring up the fear that
produces hate. If these ads were truly aimed at gay people, they wouldn't be broadcast at
extravagant cost to the wide general audience reached by TV, and they wouldn't be
trumpeted in Washington, insurin g free national exposure, three weeks before Election
Day. The ads themselves, despite the sugar-coating of "hope," ooze malice. In
one of them, homosexuality is linked to drug addiction and certain death by AIDS; all of
them implicitly posit that homosex uality is itself a disease in need of a cure.
Matthew Shepard has now been "cured,"
that's for sure. As his uncle, R.W. Eaton, told The Denver Post, the 21-year-old Matt, who
aspired to a career in diplomacy and human rights, was "a small person with a big
heart, mind and soul that someone tried t o beat out of him." Of his nephew's
shattered body Eaton said, "It's like something you might see in war." And a war
it is. Go to the Family Research Council's Web site and you will find a proud description
of its readiness to "wage the war against the ho mosexual agenda and fight to
maintain the traditional meaning of 'family.'"
The head of the Family Research Council is Gary
Bauer, a G.O.P. power broker and putative Presidential candidate, who disingenuously goes
on talk shows to say that his organization hates no one and deplores violence. But if you
wage a well-financed med ia air war in which people with an innate difference in sexual
orientation are ceaselessly branded as sinful and diseased and un-American seekers of
"special rights," ground war will follow. It's a story as old as history. Once
any group is successfully s capegoated as a subhuman threat to "normal" values
by a propaganda machine, emboldened thugs take over.
Two weeks after James Byrd was savagely dragged
to his death from a pickup truck in Texas in June, I wrote a column about an ugly incident
outside the G.O.P. state convention in Fort Worth, where a mob threatened a group of gay
Log Cabin Republicans wh o were protesting discriminatory treatment by their own party.
The gay-bashers had been directly preceded by steady saber-rattling from Republican
politicians: Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma had likened James Hormel, a gay nominee to
an ambassadorship, to David Duke; Pat Robertson had wondered on TV if God might wreak
havoc on Disney World for its "Gay Days"; the Texas G.O.P. spokesman had likened
Log Cabin to the Ku Klux Klan.
Just two days after this near-brush with violence
in Fort Worth, Trent Lott was on TV seconding the religious right's condemnation of gay
people as sinful and sick. A frightened gay Texas Republican who had been at the
convention melee asked when I int erviewed him then: "Do you have to have someone
hurt and beat up and dragged from a truck to stop this?"
Months later not even the murder in Laramie has
moved Senator Lott to apologize for his words, and still no major G.O.P. leader dares take
on its "religious" wing and its crusade against people like Matthew Shepard.
In one of the new ads in that supposedly
hate-free crusade, an ostensibly loving mother condemns her son for the "bad
choice" of being gay. Is it that mother who speaks for American values, or is it
Matthew's? "Go home, give your kids a hug," Judy Shep ard said in a message read
by a tearful hospital spokesman who announced her child's death early Monday morning,
"and don't let a day go by without telling them you love them."
New York Times email address - tell them Frank
Rich is right on: email@example.com
LOG CABIN CALLS FOR DEATH PENALTY FOR
MURDERERS OF MATTHEW SHEPARD
(WASHINGTON) The nation's largest gay Republican
organization condemned the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21 year-old gay student in
Laramie, Wyoming, and called on prosecutors to seek the death penalty under current
Wyoming law for the suspects who have been charged with the crime.
"This was an incomprehensible act of
brutality against an innocent and defenseless person," said Richard Tafel, executive
director of Log Cabin Republicans. "From the evidence, it is clear that anti-gay
hatred was a factor in this crime, but the sheer savagery of the murder of Matthew Shepard
is of such a magnitude that there should be no question but to seek the most severe
punishment available under the laws of Wyoming -- the death penalty. Society must send the
strongest message that brutality of this kind is intolerable, indefensible and deserving
of the most severe punishment."
Tafel praised Governor Jim Geringer (R-WY) for
his swift and outspoken condemnation of the crime, and for sending the message that while
the state legislature should work to address the problem of hate crimes in Wyoming, there
is also a b igger societal problem that must be addressed immediately by the citizens of
"Governor Geringer is correct in focusing
the immediate response on what this horrifying act says about the condition of our society
in general," Tafel said, "and the need for all of us to reflect on how such a
thing could happen. While Matthew Shepard's killers must be brought to justice, and
legislation could be a short-term goal, we must tackle the larger issue of hatred and
violence in our society immediately. We should, as a nation, ask ourselves why this
happened, and what each of us can do from preventing it from ever happening again."
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay
Republican organization, with 50+ chapters nationwide, a full-time Washington office and a
federal political action committee.
Wed Oct 14, 1998 - 12:10AM EDT - NATIONAL AND
LOCAL VIGILS GROW
What: National Vigil in Washington, DC
Attending: Member of Congress, Ellen DeGeneres & Anne Heche, Betty DeGeneres and other Community Leaders.
For additional information: HRC 202-628-4160
http://www.hrc.org NGLTF 202-332-6483 http://www.ngltf.org GLAAD 202-986-1360
Tue Oct 13, 1998 - 7:40PM EDT - WORDS HAVE
2) "'The law should deal with facts and acts and not attitudes,'' says Steven Schwalm, senior analyst with the Family Research Council, which opposes hate crime legislation. ''We have great sorrow and regret that the incident occurred. Bu t to try and blame pro-family or religious Americans because they oppose homosexual activity is Orwellian.'" USA Today, October 13, 1998
3) According to a June 12, 1998 story in the Orlando Sentinel, police arrested a young man this past June who ripped down dozens of gay-pride rainbow flags flying in downtown Orlando - the flags were approved by the City Council in a 6-1 vote. Family members say the man, 19-year-old Brendan Shawn McGarity, became angry about the flags after he heard televangelist Pat Robertson warn earlier this week that Orlando would be punished by God for allowing the gay pride banners to fly. The fla gs had been mounted on city light posts in observance of National Gay Pride Month. McGarity's 15-year-old sister, Lindsay McGarity, said her brother thought the city's decision to allow the flags "was a mockery of God. That's what he said. It was sort of his excuse for doing it.'' She said her brother had seen Robertson's televised warning that Orlando risks the wrath of God in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorist bombs and possibly a meteor by letting the flags fly on city poles. Robertson's warning was aired on The 700 Club television show on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
The point here: words have consequences. If some
college kid could be spurred to commit a crime by the practically laughable claim that the
flying of rainbow flags will lead God to send hurricanes, earthquakes and meteors, imagine
what k ind of crimes impressionable college-aged kids could be inspired to commit when
repeatedly told by political, religious, and "pro-family" leaders that gay
people are not just sick, immoral, and scorned by God, but have actually chosen to be that
Tue Oct 13, 1998 - 6:22PM EDT - VISIT REV.
FRED PHELP'S WEB SITE
With regards to Matthew's funeral, Phelps says on his Web site: "It's too late to rescue Matthew Shepard from the life of sin into which he was lured by the perverted, depraved and decadent American society into which he was born. All wh o say 'it's OK to be gay,' have the blood of Matthew & millions more on their hands."
I again warn that Phelps' site is extremely offensive. But as the national media is now covering the fact that his church will be picketing the funeral, I think it important that we all "know our enemy." In addition, I suggest you click here and take a look at the photo archives on his site. Then sit down and have a hard drink.
Feel free to send Phelps an email message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tue Oct 13, 1998 - 5:05PM EDT - ACTIVISTS
PROPOSE WEB BLACKOUT DAY
We are launching a small campaign on the web for web sites to go dark on Oct 16 with an active link to Hate Crimes Prevention Act on HRC. The info is located on http://gayplace.com. Please help us propagate. This could bring a lot more attention to this important piece of legislation.
"Martin Wiesiolek - GayPlace.com
Tue Oct 13, 1998 - 3:45PM EDT - ANTI-GAY
PREACHER TO PICKET SHEPARD FUNERAL
Unfortunately, an anti-homosexual group from Topeka, Kan., plans to demonstrate at Matt's funeral. Rev. Fred Phelps of the Wesboro Baptist Church issured faxes Monday condemning the victim, Matt Shepard, for being gay. In a telephone in terview, an agitated Phelps said he didn't care that his planned demonstration would upset those who attend Matt's funeral. The fax displayed examples of "preaching" signs the church say they plan to show at the demonstration, some of which read "God hat es fags," "No tears for queers," and "Fag Matt in hell."
"What ought to make that family sad is the fact that they frittered away the opportunity to raise up a child in the nurturihg admonition of the Lord," said the 67-year-old misister, a well-known anti-gay activist in Kansas, where demonst rations outside funerals are outlawed." Of course, here in wonderful Wyoming we don't have such a law!
Hating the sin and loving the sinner makes great
political and religious rhetoric. But it's a distinction that fails to be made every
day across America and, in particular, one cold night in Wyoming.
Tue Oct 13, 1998 - 12:00PM EDT - JEFFERSON
REPORT EDITORIAL ON SHEPARD
Well, so much for hating the sin and loving the sinner. It seems that Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney weren't able to make this religious and intellectual distinction when they abducted a gay college student last week by pretending they were also gay. The two allegedly pistol-whipped the student, Matthew Shepard, tied him spread-eagle to a fence, tortured him and bashed his skull with the butt of a handgun before leaving him to die in the freezing Wyoming night.
If this description of how Shepard was killed doesn't just scream "hating the sinner" nothing does. But then again, the two who are accused of the murder don't appear to be shining examples of America's youth who can appreciate the distinction between a person and a person's behavior.
Both are high school dropouts. One lives with his girl friend and the other has fathered a child with his 18-year old girl friend. Even committing a less serious crime seemed to be acceptable to the two men since, according to one of the girl friends involved, the men simply set out to rob Shepard of his money because they thought he had made a pass at one of them the night before in a bar.
Hating the sin and loving the sinner makes great political and religious rhetoric. But it's a distinction that fails to be made every day across America and, in particular, one cold night in Wyoming.
(For a FREE e-mail subscription to "The
Jefferson Report", a syndicated daily radio commentary, send "subscribe"
message to Robert Jefferson at Jeffreport@scsn.net.
Reprint with permission only. Visit "The Jefferson Report" web page:
Tue Oct 13, 1998 - 1:30AM EDT - WYOMING
GOVERNOR MAKES DISTURBING STATEMENTS RE: HATE CRIME LAW SUPPORTERS
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 11:50PM EDT - HOMECOMING
PARADE MOCKS SHEPARD
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 11:45PM EDT - NOTE FROM
ELLEN DEGENERES' MOM
Betty DeGeneres wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 11:40PM EDT - CLINTON
STATEMENT ON SHEPARD
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
Let me also take a moment here to offer my prayers and my condolences to the family of Matthew Shepard, as well as to the community of Laramie, Wyoming and the university. While it wouldn't be proper for me to comment on the specifics of this case I do want to say again, crimes of hate and crimes of violence cannot be tolerated in our country. In our shock and grief one thing must remain clear, hate and prejudice are not American values. The public outrage in Laramie and all across America today echoes what we heard at the White House Conference on Hate Crimes last year -- there is something we can do about this, Congress needs to pass our tough Hate Crimes Legislation. It can do so even before it adjourns and it should do so.
I hope that in the grief of this moment for
Matthew Shepard's family, and in the shared outrage across America, American's will once
again search their hearts and do what they can to reduce their own fear and anxiety and
anger at people who are different. And I hope that Congress will pass the Hate
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 11:00PM EDT - MATTHEW'S
FUNERAL, FINAL HEALTH SUMMARY, FAMILY STATEMENT
Funeral arrangements have been made for Matthew
Shepard. Services will be held at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in Casper, Wyoming on
Friday, October 16th at 1:30 p.m. Family and friends will be given priority seating and
others will be accommodated as space permits. No further information is available at this
The following information was released by Rulon Stacey, CEO and president of Poudre Valley Hospital, at a press conference at 4:30 a.m. October 12 at the hospital.
At 12 midnight on Monday, October 12, Matthew Shepard's blood pressure began to drop. We immediately notified his family who were already at the hospital.
At 12:53 a.m. Matthew Shepard died, his family was at his bedside.
The family did release the following statement, "We would like to thank the hospital for their kindness, professionalism, sympathy, and respect for the needs of our family under this stressful time. We will always be grateful for their concern for Matthew."
The family again asked me to express their sincere gratitude to the entire world for the overwhelming response for their son. During the last 24 hours we have received nearly 2000 e-mails from every continent, and, our Website, which normally receives 100 hits a day, received thousands of hits on Saturday and Sunday. We will continue to forward to the family any e-mail we receive. The e-mail address is email@example.com.
The family has again asked that no flowers be sent but rather that people send donations to the Matthew Shepard memorial fund at:
c/o First National Bank
The family was grateful they did not have to make
a decision regarding whether or not to continue life support for their son. Like a good
son, he was caring to the end and removed guilt or stress from the family. He came
into the world premature and left the world premature. Matthew's mother said,
"Go home, give your kids a hug and don't let a day go by without telling them you
love them." Matthew's family is so grateful that his last words to them were,
"I love you." This was said when the family went to Saudi Arabia where they work
for an oil company.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 10:20PM EDT - NATIONAL GAY
GROUPS PLAN EVENT AT US CAPITOL BUILDING
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 1998
DEATH OF WYOMING MAN SPURS RENEWED FIGHT FOR HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION: The death of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who sustained massive injuries in a brutal attack last week, has galvanized the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community in seeking hate crimes legislation that covers bias crimes based on sexual orientation and identity. Shepard, who was found October 7 after nearly 20 hours of being tied to a fence and left to die, had been beaten, bludgeoned and slashed and was hospitalized in Fort Collins, Colorado's Poudre Valley Hospital until his death on October 12. Shepard was allegedly targeted in a bar popular among gay men by 21-year-old Russell Arthur Henderson and 20-year-old Aaron James McKinney.
A press conference will be held tomorrow, October 13, 1998 at 12:30 p.m. on the steps of the Albany County courthouse in Laramie, Wyoming, to call for hate crimes legislation which would enable prosecutors to seek substantial additional penalties when charging those who commit crimes motivated by bias. Among those attending the conference will be Wyoming State Rep. Wende Barker, Cathy Renna, GLAAD Director of Community Relations, and Dan Hawes, Field Organizer for the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force.
GLAAD executive director Joan M. Garry pointed out that Shepard's murder took place on the heels of the announcement by the Center For Reclaiming America and the Family Research Council that they would be launching a series of television ads building on their anti-gay newspaper campaign this summer, which promised "hope and healing." Speaking about the Wyoming incident, Garry observed, "If you think homophobic advertisements like those which ran in our newspapers this summer are devoid of repercussions - think again. These ads give people permission to hate."
On Wednesday, October 14, at 7:00 p.m., the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Lesbian and Gay Task Force (NGLTF) and GLAAD, as well as entertainment figures Helen Hunt, Ellen DeGeneres, her mother Betty Degeneres and Elton John (not yet confirmed at press time) will join on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.. They will remember Matthew Shepard and renew the call for the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by Congress, which President Clinton first called for over a year ago. Elizabeth Birch, executive director of HRC, commented "There is nothing special about living a life free of violence and nothing right about opposing laws that would help remedy this situation. Those who oppose hate crimes legislation are either burying their heads in the sand or they simply don't care that thousands of gay and lesbian Americans are being harassed and brutalized each year."
A website administered by Wired Strategies, a
political Internet consulting firm, has been set up to serve as a clearinghouse for
information and coverage of the murder of Matthew Shepard. Among the resources are an
e-mail distribution list, an online discussion forum, summaries and transcripts of stories
reported on the murder, and an extensive list of recent bias crimes committed against
lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender
For more information about the Wyoming press conference, contact Cathy Renna, GLAAD Director of Community Relations at (202) 957-8317. For information regarding the Washington D.C. press conference, contact Wayne Besen of the Human Rights Campaign at (202) 216-1580. For information about national and state hate crimes legislation and statistics contact Jeffrey Montgomery of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, at (313) 537-3323 or Tracey Conaty, Communications Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at (202) 332-6483 x3303.
GLAAD is the nation's lesbian & gay
multimedia advocacy organization. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate, and inclusive
representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or
identity. To subscribe contact Wonbo Woo at (212) 807-1700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"GLAAD" and "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" are
registered trademarks of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Inc.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 10:00PM EDT - NATIONAL
YOUTH ADVOCACY COALITION STATEMENT
CONTACT: Rea Carey
NATIONAL GAY YOUTH GROUP CALLS ON COUNTRY TO WAKE
UP TO VIOLENCE FACED BY MATTHEW SHEPARD AND OTHER GAY YOUTH
"The National Youth Advocacy Coalition finds the attack on University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard brutish, disgusting and a frightening reflection of the violence faced by gay youth. This horrendous beating, burning, and torture is one stop on the clear continuum of violence and harassment faced by our nation's young people. Starting with name calling in elementary schools and ending in murder on our nation's streets and rural roads, the threats to safety for gay youth have been tolerated for far too long. It is time our nation's leaders and communities took a stand against the extreme mistreatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.
Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer's call this week for hate crimes legislation is admirable but comes too late for Matthew Shepard. Somewhere along the way, his attackers got the message that it is acceptable to beat, burn, and rob a young gay man. Past opponents of the inclusion of 'sexual orientation' in hate crimes legislation argued that its passage would give 'special rights' to gays. It seems to me that Matthew Shepard could have used any rights the night he was tied to a fence and beaten. Anti-gay forces will have to be very creative in coming up with an argument for not passing hate crimes legislation next time around. Their excuses will fall on angry ears. It is time for the State of Wyoming and our country to right its past wrongs.
This week, I will be attending the White House Conference on School Safety with other advocates for safe learning environments. This conference comes at a critical time as our nation struggles with violent attacks on this country's students at the hands of their peers. Although Matthew Shepard is a college student, his attack is, unfortunately, representative of the continuum of violence and harassment faced by gay youth beginning in grade school. The National Youth Advocacy Coalition calls on our nation's decision-makers, the White House, and communities across the country to open their eyes to the day to day realities of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Our country can not afford to lose one more life at the hands of homophobic youth and the laws, systems and beliefs that support them."
FACTS ABOUT GAY YOUTH:
The National Youth Advocacy Coalition is the only
national organization solely focused on advocacy, education, and information
addressing the broad range of issues facing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
youth. NYAC works to end discrimination against these young people and to ensure
their physical and emotional well being. NYAC represents the interests of GLBT youth
and the over 500 organizations nationwide providing support services to GLBT youth.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 7:40PM EDT - STATEMENT FROM
JESUS RIOS, UNIV OF WY STUDENT PRESIDENT
For those of you who have wondered what exactly Wyoming is all about or what they intend to do let me inform you of the following. First, this incident is not typical of Wyoming mentality. We have been scrutinized by some on not being "The Equality State," but this is merely perceptual. Wyoming maintains its vigilant standards for acceptance and equality, despite perceptions. Now as for what we are doing.
The University of Wyoming students are fully
supporting the (LGBTA) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender association in their events
this current week. We have planned vigils, a remembrance ceremony to be held today in
light of his death, and a funeral service to be held on campus early next week. The
President of the University has ordered the campus flag to be flown at half-mast till his
funeral service. We continue to plan for education seminars to be held in classes
through out the week and weeks to come. We are also in the process of writing a
resolution to encourage the State to enact Hate-Crime legislation. Any other
concerns or questions that anyone may have can contact the ASUW Student Govt. office at
766-5204, or Jesus Rios, the ASUW President at ASUWPRES@uwyo.edu.
Thank you for caring about Matthew Shepard and for his cause.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 6:55PM EDT - LAMBDA LEGAL
DEFENSE FUND SPEAKS OUT
Tragic Death of Gay Wyoming Student Begs for End
(NEW YORK, October 12, 1998) -- Responding to the death of Matthew Shepard on Monday, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said anti-gay violence goes hand in hand with the hatemongering and prejudice commonly voiced by anti-gay extremists, including some public officials around the country.
"This University of Wyoming student was beaten and left to die, tied to a fence like an animal, because he was honest and open about being gay. Matthew Shepard's horrible suffering and death cannot be dismissed simply as the fault of deranged, isolated individuals. His attackers are among millions of Americans who constantly hear the message that gay people are not worthy of the most basic equal treatment," said Lambda Legal Director Beatrice Dohrn.
"By simply being ourselves and saying there's nothing wrong with us because we are gay, we risk everything --- from our lives to our jobs or custody of our children. The first step in ending this kind of violence, which took Matthew's life, is to end anti-gay discrimination and the hostility that it fosters.
"For example, with the Military's 'don't ask, don't tell,' the United States government continues to insist that troops cannot be expected to accept service members who are openly gay," Dohrn said.
"In Hawaii, and elsewhere in the country, Lambda also is fighting for the freedom for gay couples to marry and for basic respect for our families. At the U.S. Supreme Court, Lambda is urging an end to a sweeping anti-gay initiative from Cincinnati, that was supported by some of the same extremist groups now promoting anti-gay newspaper and television advertisements around the country."
Noting that reported anti-gay violence last year increased a dramatic 34 percent at schools and colleges, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Dohrn said, "In Utah, Lambda continues a court battle with school officials who actually refuse to allow students at a Salt Lake City school to organize against anti-gay brutality and harassment."
"Gaybashers do not make subtle distinctions
between calls for anti-gay discrimination and anti- gay violence," Dohrn said,
adding, "It is well past time for public officials and extremists to take
responsibility for the hurt they promote against gay people and to join us in seeking
equal treatment for
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 6:10PM EDT - GLAAD, NGLTF
AND LOCAL GROUPS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE
Contact: Mike Massie, Wyoming State
Representative (D-Laramie) - phone: (307) 766-5096
LOCAL AND NATIONAL GROUPS CALL FOR HATE CRIME LEGISLATION FOLLOWING BRUTAL WYOMING MURDER
PRESS CONFERENCE TO PRECEDE PRELIMINARY HEARING OF SUSPECTS
LARAMIE, WY, MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 1998-On Tuesday, October 13, Wyoming State Representative Wende Barker (D-Laramie); spokespersons from statewide and national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF); and a close friend of Matthew Shepard, who died early this morning after having been viciously attacked, stabbed, burned and left for dead last week in an anti-gay attack, will speak out on the desperate need for hate crimes legislation on the state and federal levels. The press conference will be held just prior to the preliminary hearing of the alleged attackers at the Albany County Courthouse.
"Because of homophobic attitudes, every attempted bias crime bill so far to be proposed in the state legislature has been blocked," said State Representative Mike Massie (D-Laramie). "The viciousness of the attack on Matt clearly shows how critical this kind of legislation is. The attack was fueled by the kind of ignorance and intolerance that we as Americans must condemn in the strongest terms possible."
Matt's close friend Hauva Manookin added, "As devastated as we are by this tragedy, we know this embodies Matt's commitment to justice and human rights. I hope that hate crimes legislation will be passed so that some sense can come from this tragedy."
For more information about hate crimes
legislation, please visit the website of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
(NGLTF), located online at: http://www.ngltf.org, or contact Tracey Conaty, NGLTF
Communications Director at (202) 332-6483 x3303.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 5:30PM EDT- HRC STATEMENT
ON MATTHEW'S DEATH
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 5:13PM EDT - WYOMING
GOVERNOR CRITICIZES HATE CRIMES LAWS
Click here to email the governor and tell him your thoughts.
The Governor's statement:
STATE OF WYOMING
We send our comfort and prayers to Matthew's parents, family and friends. May they find strength to carry on in spite of this terrible act. We now must find closure, to first assure that justice will be effectively carried out, and second to work with t he determination that there will not be a repeat of this incident in any fashion in Wyoming.
The message that should go out is that no one is above the law, that no life or freedom should be taken simply by an act of prejudice. The young people charged must now realize that their lives are permanently changed. They have irreversibly altered the ir future, if indeed, they even have one.
The overwhelming reaction of the people I've visited with is one of shock that such a brutal attack could happen in Wyoming. With the resulting national media reaction, Wyoming people are discouraged that all of us could be unfairly stereotyped by the ac tions of two very sick and twisted people.
The magnitude of the national response indicates that this is an issue of concern all over America, but perhaps in a special way for Wyoming, because "Wyoming is What America Was." How will Wyoming handle the situation? Wyoming is still "The Last Best Place" and "The Equality State." Can we serve as a model on how to deal with brutality so that the rest of America can deal with its own insensitivity? Yes, we can. But how?
Recalling the horror, rejecting terror, refusing to be drawn in by prejudice is not enough. If all we feel is outrage, we have no remedy. If we don't feel ashamed, we will not change. If we don't speak out for truth, we will not preserve it.
In order to practice Wyoming's motto of "The Equality State," we must acknowledge each other's worth and dignity or we will lose our basic values. Friday's incident can serve as a remembrance of how not to act.
But this is not just an issue over sexual orientation. This is about hate and misdirected values. Any taking of a life is wrong. Any act that would exert terrorism is wrong. Every spring I am asked to participate in a "Day of Remembrance" to memoriali ze the victims of the Holocaust of World War II, for those who fought for equality, who felt the rejection of prejudice. The memorial is always a look back at events that should never be repeated. It is also a look forward, with renewed commitment not only to fight against prejudice, hatred or intolerance, but also to practice equality.
The terrible actions taken by the Hitler regime in Nazi Germany did not take place suddenly, as a single event. The German people and their public institutions slipped slowly but steadily into accepting, while not preventing, crimes against Jewish peopl e. Hatred begins in small incremental ways. How many times have each of us failed through words or actions to correct an injustice? How often do we stereotype people rather than acknowledge individual uniqueness?
Unanswered criticism. Unchallenged accusations. Each becomes a tacit validation, a passive approval of a lie.
Even the national reaction to Wyoming is in part a stereotype. The clamoring for Wyoming to pass a "hate crimes law" reflects a rush to judgement in itself. We can and will deal with this properly and on our own. Those who call for a nationally imposed remedy are misdirected.
I note with irony that the national press didn't bat an eye when young Kristin Lamb was abducted from her grandparent's front yard, raped, murdered and dumped in a landfill. That action is just as repulsive as the loss of Matthew Shepard.
We should now make this an opportunity to remind each other of what went wrong in the past so that we might bring what is right to the future. We must never forget the tragedy of a discarded people, whether it be through extermination camps or by our own individual disregard for others.
The issue in this case happens to be homosexuality, but hate knows no boundary. Any act that displays a lack of respect for human life is wrong. How should Wyoming deal with hate crime legislation? What are anti-bias or anti-hate laws?
I've asked several proponents of hate crime legislation to describe where Wyoming's laws are deficient. What I've found is that most don't even know what Wyoming's laws are. The fact is, Wyoming laws are already quite strict. But we can and should pro vide for more options for local law enforcement and our judiciary so that we can deal with future situations.
I read with interest Chuck Green's editorial in the Denver Post. He commented on what a hate crime law could include. Such laws don't make hate itself a crime, but they consider whether hate as a motivating factor in a crime, is an aggravating factor w hen the charges are brought and tried. If hate is involved as a motive, it can make the penalty more severe. That helps little, if the victim is dead. You can only impose capital punishment once. Hate though, could be considered as an aggravating circ umstance when a jury considers whether the death penalty is appropriate.
Burn a cross on a black family's lawn, and it's
more serious than setting their trash can on fire. Paint a swastika on a Jewish family's
car, and it's more serious than painting a gang sign on a warehouse wall. Assault a
homosexual because his sexual orie ntation offends you, and it's more serious than if you
assaulted someone at the office. The difference is measured in motive, not in action. Hate
is anarchy in a country that was founded on democracy.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 3:00PM EDT - TELL CONGRESS
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), H.R.3081 and S.1529, would amend current federal law to include real Or perceived sexual orientation, gender, and disability so the FBI would be able to investigate and prosecute violent hate crimes against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Current law already allows investigation and Prosecution on the basis of race, religion, national origin and color, but doesn't include sexual orientation.
Please email your US Senators and House Members and tell them to pass the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R.3081 and S.1529) immediately - and don't forget to sign the email with your name and address (the Web links above will assist you in identifying and emailing your Member of Congress). Also, call the Congressional switchboard at 202/224-3121 and ask for your Member's office, then tell them to pass the Act as well. Congress will likely close up for the year in the next few days - don't let them leave Washington without passing this bill in Matthew's name.
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 10:55AM EDT - UNIVERSITY OF
WYOMING POSTS STATEMENTS TO WEB
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 10:11AM EDT - MATTHEW HAS
Gay Wyoming College Student Dies After
Rulon Stacey, chief executive officer of the Poudre Valley Health System, told reporters Matthew Shepard, 21, died at 12:53 a.m. MDT (2:53 a.m. EDT) Monday. His family was at his bedside.
Shepard had been breathing with the aid of a ventilator since being found last Wednesday night beaten and tied for some 18 hours to a wooden fence where he was left to die just outside Laramie, Wyoming, a small college town.
He suffered a severe skull fracture and was burned in the attack. Police said the college student begged for his life.
Shepard was found by a passing motorist who at first thought that the figure on a fence post was a scarecrow.
He died of his injuries rather than being removed from life support by his parents, Stacey said.
``They did not have to come to a point in the process where they were forced to make a decision. Life support remained with Matthew throughout the process,'' Stacey said.
``In fact they said (as) the caring son that he was, he was able to remove from them the guilt or stress of having to make that decision,'' said the hospital administrator, nearly breaking into tears.
His parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, flew to Colorado from Saudi Arabia where the father works in the oil industry. Stacey said the parents were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for their son.
Two men are in custody for the attack and their girlfriends, who allegedly provided them an alibi and helped hide bloody clothes, have been charged as accessories after the fact.
Police following the attack lodged attempted first-degree murder charges against the two men and said the charges could be upgraded.
The attack on Shepard, who reportedly lived an openly gay life, was condemned by President Clinton and the governor of Wyoming as well as ordinary citizens who appeared at vigils in honor of the student.
Police believe robbery as well as gay bashing was a motivation in the crime.
Bill McKinney, the father of suspect Aaron McKinney, and Kristen Price, Aaron's girlfriend who was also charged in the case, have said the two men accused of the attack targeted Shepard because he had flirted with Aaron McKinney at a bar and embarrassed him, a published report said Sunday.
The attack in Laramie, Wyoming, a small western town with a popular of 26,000, stunned residents and prompted calls for more anti-hate crime legislation.
The hospital had been flooded with flowers and
Rulon said messages from people came from around the world and were in the
Mon Oct 12, 1998 - 12:43AM EDT - SUSPECT'S
FATHER DENIES HATE CRIME
Personal commentary from John of Wired
ABC then followed with a second story on hate
Sun Oct 11, 1998 - 11:10PM EDT - CNN REPORTS
ON SHEPARD CASE
Sun Oct 11, 1998 - 6:16PM EDT - NO CHANGE IN
Sun Oct 11, 1998 - 5:13PM EDT - GAY BASHING IN
Sun Oct 11, 1998 - 1:32PM EDT - NO CHANGE IN
CONDITION/SEND MORE EMAIL
Sun Oct 11, 1998 - 1:11AM EDT - SEND EMAIL TO
MATTHEW AND HIS FAMILY
Sun Oct 11, 1998 - 1:11AM EDT - NEW DETAILS ON
The following 9 p.m. October 10 medical update was given by Rulon Stacey, President and CEO of Poudre Valley Health System. This was distributed to members of the media present at the time at Poudre Valley Hospital and will be FAXed to reporters as they call until the next medical update is distributed at about 9 a.m. October 11.
Since our last medical update at 3 p.m. October 10, Matthew Shepard has remained in critical condition.
Matthew is in the surgical-neuro intensive care unit in our Regional Neuroscience Center located within the hospital. He remains in critical condition with severe head injuries. Respiratory support continues to be provided. He remains on a ventilator.
Matthew came to us on October 7 from Ivinson
Hospital in Laramie by way of ambulance. He was admitted in critical condition at
approximately 9:15 p.m. October 7. When he arrived, he was unresponsive and breathing
support was being provided.
The following is medical information from Poudre Valley Hospital. It was released by Rulon Stacey at the medical update at 3 p.m. October 10.
Matthews major injuries upon arrival consisted of hypothermia and a fracture from behind his head to just in front of the right ear. This has caused bleeding in the brain, as well as pressure on the brain. There were also approximately a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck.
Matthew has a massive brain stem injury. The brain stem controls vital signs, such as heart beat, body temperature and other involuntary functions.
Matthews temperature has fluctuated over the last 24 hours, ranging from 98 to 106 degrees. We have had difficulty controlling his temperature.
Hospital actions have included the surgeon inserting an intraventicular drain into his brain to relieve pressure by draining spinal fluid. The drain remains in and functional.
We are also continuing to control Matthews
temperature. He remains on a ventilator which is assisting his
Well-wishers have also sent many flowers to Matthew. Again, the parents extend their sincere thank you.
The parents ask that, in lieu of sending flowers, people contribute to a fund that was set up October 9 in Matthews name. Donations can be sent to:
Fund for the Benefit of Matthew
Matthews current medical condition and
selected information from this web site are also recorded on voice mail: (970) 495-7032.
We ask that people, including the media, rely on the web site and the voice mail to track
Matthews parents arrived at 7 p.m. October 9 and are now at his bed side. The parents and other family members who are present strongly request no interviews with the media and they ask that their privacy is respected.
The following statement from the parents was read to members of the media waiting outside of the hospital at 6 p.m. October 10. The parents chose not to read the statement, so it was read by Rulon Stacey, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Health System, at their request.
"First of all, we want to thank the American public for their kind thoughts about Matthew and their fond wishes for his speedy recovery. We appreciate your prayers and good will, and we know they are something Matthew would appreciate, too.
"Matthew is a very special person, and everyone can learn important lessons from his life. All of us who know Matthew see him as he is, a very kind and gentle soul. He is a strong believer in humanity and human rights. He is a trusting person who takes everybody at face value and he does not see the bad side of anyone.
"His one intolerance is when people dont accept others as they are. He has always strongly felt that all people are the sameregardless of their sexual preference, race or religion.
"We know he believes that all of us are part of the same family called Humanity, and each and everyone of us should treat all people with respect and dignity, and that each of us has the right to live a full and rewarding life. That is one lesson which we are very certain he would share with you, if he could.
"Matthew also feels strongly about family. He is a loving son, brother and grandson who has made our own lives much richer and fuller than what we would have experienced without him.
"Matthews life has often been a struggle in one way or another. He was born prematurely, and he struggled to survive as an infant. He is physically short in stature but we believe he is a giant when it comes to respecting the worth of others. We know that he thinks if he can make one persons life better in this world, then he has succeeded. That is a measure of success which Matthew has always pursued.
"Matthew very much enjoys the outdoors and camping, and he has always loved acting in the theatrehe started acting in community theatre at the age of 5. Acting and the theatre arts are skills at which Matthew excels.
"He knows hes not the best athlete in the world but he has a very competitive spirit. One time he participated in the Wyoming State Games. He had a respectable finish in a running competition and then he decided to compete in a swimming event. He did this even though he knew he would likely finish last. Which he did. Afterwards, he acknowledged to us that he knew his chances of winning were far from good but he wasnt going to let that stop him from trying. Thats Matthews lesson for all of usits lesson that we hope everyone takes to heart.
"Matthew has traveled all over the world. He speaks three languages: English, German and Italian. He loves Europe, but he also loves Laramie and the University of Wyoming. We feel that, if he was giving this statement himself, he would emphasize he does not want the horrible actions of a few very disturbed individuals to mar the fine reputations of Laramie or the university.
"Finally, we would like to thank the sheriffs department of Albany County, Wyoming, and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins for their very professional efforts on Matthews behalf.
"We also have a special request for the members of the media. Matthew is very much in need of his family at this time, and we ask that you respect our privacy, as well as Matthews so we can concentrate all of our efforts, thoughts and love on our son.
"Thank you very much."
Approximately two to three dozen calls have come
into the hospital from people in Colorado and around the nation who have extended offers
of donations and other support, such as legal and counseling support. The parents extend
their very sincere thank you for these offers of support.
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 5:40PM EDT - GREAT
STATEMENT FROM HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
President Clinton Issues Statement Asking The
Nation To Pray For Shepard Family And Urges America To Stand Together Against Violent
Statement of Kim I. Mills
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 3:26PM EDT - PRESIDENT
CLINTON ISSUES STATEMENT
The Justice Department has assured me that local law enforcement officials are proceeding diligently to bring those responsible to justice. And I am determined that we will do everything we can and offer whatever assistance is appropriate.
Hillary and I ask that your thoughts and your prayers be with Mr. Shepard and his family, and with the people of Laramie, Wyoming. In the face of this terrible act of violence, they are joining together to demonstrate that an act of evil like this is not what our country is all about. In fact it strikes at the very heart of what it means to be an American and at the values that define us as a Nation. We must all reaffirm that we will not tolerate this.
Just this year there have been a number of recent tragedies across our country that involve hate crimes. The vicious murder of James Byrd last June in Jasper, Texas and the assault this week on Mr. Shepard are only among the most horrifying examples. Almost one year ago I proposed that Congress enact the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Our Federal laws already punish some crimes committed against people on the basis of race or religion or national origin, but we should do more. This crucial legislation would strengthen and expand the ability of the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes by removing needless jurisdictional requirements for existing crimes and by giving Federal prosecutors the power to prosecute hate crimes committed because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender, or disability. All Americans deserve protection from hate.
There is nothing more important to the future of
this country than our standing together against intolerance, prejudice, and violent
bigotry. It is not too late for Congress to take action before they adjourn and pass
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act. By doing so they will help make all Americans more
safe and secure."
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 3:15PM EDT - HOUSE DEM.
LEADER GEPHARDT ISSUES STATEMENT
This heinous crime deserves the condemnation of
all Americans. Hate crimes such as this and the June murder of James Byrd in Texas
are violent acts motivated by intolerance and hatred. I trust that those responsible
for this horrendous attack will be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law
and firmly believe that we must pass the tough hate crimes legislation pending in the
Congress to help stop these despicable acts."
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 12:43PM EDT - LOTS OF
ARTICLES IN DENVER POST
I include one story that is so good, I had to reprint it:
Gay bashing is a hate crime
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - NEW YORK TIMES ON SHEPARD
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 7:12AM EDT - SHEPARD'S
CONDITION UPDATES ONLINE
October 8, 1998 Noon
The family requests no interviews with the media,
and asks that you respect their privacy.
October 9 -- 3 p.m. Update
October 9 -- 9 p.m. Update
Matthew came to us from Ivinson Hospital in Laramie by way of ambulance. He arrived on 10/7/98 at approximately 9:15 p.m.. When he arrived, he was unresponsive and breathing support was being provided. He was admitted to the surgical-neuro intensive care unit where he remains in critical condition with severe head injuries. Respiratory support continues to be provided. He remains on a ventilator. Matthews parents arrived this evening and are now at his bed side. The parents and other family members who are present strongly request no interviews with the media and they ask that their privacy is respected.
About a dozen calls have come into the hospital from people in Colorado and around the nation who have extended offers of donations and support. The parents extend their very sincere thank you for this support and the kind best wishes of people. The parents ask that in lieu of sending flowers people contribute to a fund that was set up today in Matthews name. Donations can be sent to:
Fund for the Benefit of Matthew
The next medical condition update will be at 9 a.m. Saturday. In addition, updates will be kept current throughout tonight and posted on this web site. The condition is also provided on voice mail: (970) 495-7032. We ask that people, including the media, rely on these two services if you need to track Matthews condition throughout the night.
Note: A special voice mail telephone line has
been set-up for condition updates. The voice mail will provide the same information listed
here. The number is (970) 495-7032.
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - SHEPARD BEGGED FOR HIS LIFE
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 2:40AM EDT - NGLTF ISSUES
TASK FORCE CONDEMNS SAVAGE BASHING;
WASHINGTON, DC---October 9, 1998--- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force condemned Tuesdayšs gay bashing in Laramie, Wyoming where a student was severely burned, beaten, and left to die. The Task Force linked the violence to an increased climate of anti-gay hostility and political attacks in nearby Fort Collins, the Wyoming legislature, and in the US Congress.
"Anti-gay rhetoric and anti-gay violence go hand-in-hand," said Tracey Conaty, NGLTF communications director. "The right wing is creating the most hostile atmospheres for GLBT people in recent memory. Hate violence is a logical extension of these rhetorical, legislative, and electoral attacks, " she added.
Matthew Shepard, a 22-year-old political science student at the University of Wyoming, was found tied to a fence the day after having been left to die by his assailants. He had burns on his entire body and had been beaten so severely with a blunt object that his skull was crushed. He is on a respirator at a nearby hospital in Fort Collins, CO. Shepard had been beaten recently and attributed the attack to his sexual orientation. In that attack, he suffered a broken jaw.
The Task Force charges that right wing groups have fostered a climate conducive to such violence. This week in Fort Collins, Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, a right-wing opposition group ran a series of ads denouncing the measures and urging voters not to support "special rights" for homosexuals. A similar organization sponsored a forum with an "ex-gay" Spokesperson, which claimed sexual orientation can be changed, and therefore does not deserve inclusion in Fort Collinsš Human Rights Ordinance.
Right wing forces in Wyoming have stymied passage of a hate crimes bill claiming it would give "special rights" to GLBT people. Nationally, right-wing organizations have hypocritically portrayed their anti-gay efforts as "compassionate and loving." In June, Senate majority leader Trent Lott compared homosexuality to kleptomania and sex addiction. Recent anti-gay measures in Congress were introduced while right-wing groups launched a major advertising campaign to "change" GLBT people. Just yesterday, these groups announced a series of TV ads seeking to "reject homosexuality and go on to live healthy normal lives."
The Task Force has documented a link between increases in anti-gay violence and the escalation of anti-gay rhetoric during ballot initiative campaigns. Immediately before Coloradošs Amendment 2 passed in 1992, Colorado activists documented a 129 percent increase in anti-gay assaults. In the two months following the vote, nearly 40 percent of the annual total was reported. Hattie Mae Cohen, a lesbian, and Brian Mock, a gay man, were killed when their home in Oregon was firebombed during that statešs 1992 ballot battle. In Maine in 1995, incidents of anti-gay violence jumped to 10 during the six months of an anti-gay initiative campaign in 1995, compared to four incidents for the entire previous year.
"When anti-gay rhetoric escalates, so does anti-gay violence. Hate crimes are a result of that intolerance," continued Conaty. "No one should condone violence against any group of people, nor should they contribute to an atmosphere that fosters such intolerance and violence."
A bill languishing in Congress, the Hate Crimes
Prevention Act, would make hate violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
people and other minorities a federal crime. The Task Force urges Congress to swiftly pass
Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force works to eliminate prejudice, violence and injustice against gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgendered people at the local, state and national level. As part of a
broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, NGLTF is creating a
world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human expression and identity where
all people may fully participate in society.
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 2:39AM EDT - GLAAD ISSUES
Jeffrey Montgomery, NCAVP Steering
GLAAD AND NATIONAL COALITION OF ANTI-VIOLENCE
PROGRAMS EXPRESS SORROW AND HORROR AT ATTACK ON GAY MAN IN WYOMING
"Hateful rhetoric fosters a fearful and intolerant environment--all the ingredients necessary for putting people in harms way. What Matt Shepard is going through is unthinkable. That there are people who hate him for being open and honest about his life is unconscionable."
-Joan M. Garry, GLAAD Executive Director
NEW YORK, NY, THURSDAY, 9 OCTOBER, 1998 -- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) today expressed their sorrow at the attempted murder of 22-year-old University of Wyoming student Matt Shepard, who was found on Wednesday night in Laramie near death and tied to a fence, after having been beaten, burned and slashed. Mr. Shepard, a junior studying political science at the university, had been attacked twice previously in recent weeks, once having his jaw broken.
The report of the Wyoming attack comes one day after the Center for Reclaiming America and Coral Ridge Ministries held a joint press conference with the Family Research Council to announce a new series of anti-gay television advertisements, in the same vein as their previous campaign, which was placed in major newspapers this summer.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs condemned the attack as well. "We at NCAVP are all too familiar with the increasing violence facing the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender community, and the increasingly vicious nature of these crimes," said NCAVP Steering Committee member Jeffrey Montgomery. "What happened to Matt Shepard may shock and horrify you, but something like it happens on a day to day basis in this country. What's worse, Wyoming has no hate crimes bill to protect victims and prosecute those who target them, because radical religious groups insisted it would extend 'special rights' to lesbians and gay men, who have become less than equal in their eyes. Is it a 'special right' to not be beaten into a coma because of who you are? Ask the victims of the thousands of anti-gay hate crimes...they're the ones who know."
GLAAD Executive Director, Joan M. Garry continued, "We invite those who are so obsessed with the lives of lesbians and gay men to examine the tone and tenor of their remarks well before they issue them. Think of who will hear their words. Think of who will see these indelible images. If you think homophobic advertisements like those which ran in our newspapers this summer are devoid of repercussions--think again. These ads give people permission to hate. They are inciteful vehicles. They have a real impact on real people's lives."
GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay media advocacy organization. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in all media as a means of combating homophobia and all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
(NCAVP) addresses the pervasive problem of violence committed against and within the
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive (LGBTH) communities. NCAVP is a
coalition of programs that document and advocate for victims of anti-LGBTH
violence/harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, police Misconduct, and other forms
of victimization. NCAVP is dedicated to creating a national response to the violence
plaguing these communities. Furthermore, NCAVP supports existing anti-violence
organizations and emerging local programs in the efforts to document and prevent such
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 2:38AM EDT - ANTI-GAY HATE
SPEECH AT MICHIGAN STATE
Sat Oct 10, 1998 - 1:29 AM EDT - SUMMARY OF
NEWS STORIES TO DATE
The University of Wyoming student paper, the Branding Iron, has published on its Web site a series of nine stories, and numerous photos, dealing with the attack on Matthew Shepard. In addition the Washington Post Web site published a front page story on the case at midnight. And a new Associated Press story was issued at 9:37PM EDT, Oct 9. Details from all 11 stories have been compiled in the following brief update.
A Brief Update - Summary of Recent Branding Iron, Washington Post, and Associated Press Articles
At last report, Matthew Shepard remained in a coma, in critical condition, in Colorado - according to the hospital, he is on a ventilator. "They're not expecting him to ever wake up," friends say. His parents are to arrive this evening from Saudi Arabia.
His four accused attackers (two men), and accomplices (two women), were arraigned Friday in court, and remain in police custody. According to reports, the two males befriended Shepard in a bar, told him they were gay, and lured him into their pick-up truck. Shepard was subsequently attacked in the truck, then dragged to a field where he was tied to a fence post spread-eagle, beaten and burned, then left to die. According to court documents, Shepard was "struck in the head with a pistol," and the suspects allegedly "beat him, while he begged for his life." According to one report, Shepard received a 2-inch deep gash in his head, crushing his skull. The temperature had dropped into the low 30s during the more than 12 hours Shepard was left outside. The males then met up with the two female accomplices, who helped them dispose of their now-bloody clothing.
Anti-gay epithets were reportedly used by the two young men who are accused of committing the crime, and friends say the attack was clearly an anti-gay hate crime. Efforts to pass hate-crime legislation in Wyoming have failed repeatedly because critics have said it would give gays "special rights." The conservative Family Research Council (FRC) -- which joined other religious right groups in announcing on Thursday a new round of anti-gay "ex-homosexual" TV ads -- released a statement Friday on Shepard's attack, echoing the arguments of previous hate crimes opponents. FRC said in their statement that "'Hate crimes' laws skew the legal system and afford unequal protection by design" and that such laws create a "special status." In contrast, Wyoming's Republican Governor, Jim Geringer, said he was "outraged and sickened" by the crime, and that the state needs to enact hate crime legislation.
"He's a small person with a big heart, mind
and soul that someone tried to beat out of him," said Matthew Shepard's uncle, R.W.
Eaton. "Right now, he's in God's hands."
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 9:18PM EDT - SEND A CARD TO
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 6:10PM EDT - FAMILY RESEARCH
COUNCIL OPPOSES HATE CRIME LAWS
The Associated Press reported that Matthew Shepard, a 22-year-old political science major at the University of Wyoming, was bludgeoned in the head with a "blunt object," burned and tied to a wooden fence outside the city of Laramie.
"Whoever committed this crime should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said Knight, who cautioned that some are already exploiting this tragedy to advance the cause of so-called "hate crimes" legislation, which creates attitudinal crimes and a special status for certain victims. "Every crime is a 'hate' crime. Brutalizing a person is a reprehensible act, regardless of the motivation or the group affiliation of the victim.
"All citizens deserve equal protection under
the law. 'Hate crimes' laws skew the legal system and afford unequal protection by
design. This young man, no less than anyone else, should be protected, and his
attackers should feel the full force of the law," stressed Knight. "The
law should deal strictly with facts and acts. Justice dictates that violence be
punished, and that the perpetrators be held fully accountable," Knight
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 5:41PM EDT - WYOMING
NICKNAME IS "EQUALITY STATE"
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 5:15PM EDT - SHEPARD'S SKULL
SMASHED WITH HANDGUN
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 3:45PM EDT - SHEPARD CHOSEN
IN PART BECAUSE HE WAS GAY
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 3:45PM EDT - SCHOOL PAPER
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 2:28PM EDT - FRIENDS SAY
CLEARLY A HATE CRIME
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 1:03PM EDT - LOCAL OFFICIALS
SAY ROBBERY WAS MOTIVE, BUT SEXUAL ORIENTATION PLAYED A ROLE
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 10:26AM EDT - HUMAN RIGHTS
CAMPAIGN ISSUES STATEMENT
Brutality Continues While Congress Lets Bill
Languish, According To HRC
"We are outraged and sickened by this attack performed by a group of cowards. How long does the brutality have to go on until Congress sends the message that this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our society? It is time to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.
When Shepard was found he was unconscious and his skull had been smashed with a blunt object; he also appeared to have substantial burns on his body and cuts on his head and face, his family said. Two motorcyclists who found his body said he looked "like a scarecrow" because of the way he was positioned on the fence. Shepard is now in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado where he remains unconscious and hooked up to a respirator. He had twice been beaten recently and attributed those attacks to his openness about his sexuality, friends told the Associated Press.
Three University of Wyoming students were arrested Thursday in connection with the attack. Authorities say they expect more arrests. There are no hate crimes laws in Wyoming and efforts to pass a law have been rebuffed repeatedly because critics have claimed it would give gay Americans "special rights."
"There is nothing special about living life free of violence and nothing right about opposing laws that would help remedy this situation. Those who oppose hate crimes legislation are either burying their heads in the sand or they simply don't care that thousands of gay and lesbian Americans are being harassed and brutalized each year," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch.
July, both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees held hearings to amend current
federal law to include sexual orientation, gender and disability and to expand federal law
enforcement jurisdiction is an important step towards closing a loophole needed to assist
Americans affected by hate motivated attacks. But since the hearings, there has been no
movement on this legislation. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), sponsored by Senators
Kennedy (D-MA), Specter (R-PA), and Wyden (D-OR), and Representatives McCollum (R-FL) and
Schumer (D-NY), would amend current federal law to include real or perceived sexual
orientation, gender, and disability. The amendment would enable the FBI to
study released in August by Dr. Karen Franklin, a forensic psychologist at the Washington
Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training, suggests that harassment and hate
crimes against gay students by their peers is commonplace. According to the study,
nearly one-quarter of community college students who took part in this survey admitted to
harassing people they thought were gay. Among men, 18 percent said they had
physically assaulted or threatened someone they thought was gay or lesbian. And 32
percent admitted they were guilty of verbal harassment.
Human Rights Campaign is the nation's largest national lesbian and gay political
organization, with members throughout the country, effectively lobbies Congress, provides
campaign support, and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be
open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 10:25AM EDT - DENVER POST
REPORTS ON SHEPARD ATTACK
Fri Oct 9, 1998 - 6:38AM EDT - ASSOCIATED
PRESS BREAKS SHEPARD STORY NATIONALLY
Three University of Wyoming students were
arrested Thursday in connection with the beating and were scheduled to be in court
today. Shepard's body was found by two motorcyclists who at first thought he was a
scarecrow because of the way he was positioned on the fence. Police were
investigating whether the brutal beating was motivated by Shepard's sexual orientation. He
had twice been beaten recently and attributed those attacks to his open homosexuality,
Thu Oct 8, 1998 - FOCUS ON THE FAMILY RE:
'NATIONAL COMING OUT OF HOMOSEXUALITY DAY'
"It's an honor to be a role model for those struggling to leave homosexuality behind," says Paulk. "My wife and I, and thousands of others, serve as living proof that change is possible. By taking a bold stand against the lies that say homosexuality is biological and unchangeable, we hope to encourage others desperate to escape homosexuality.
"The gay activist agenda, which includes `National Coming Out Day,' is promoted heavily by Hollywood and the media. Focus on the Family believes that `National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day' is crucial in order to provide the American public with the other side of the issue.
"Primarily, our concern centers on the destructive messages being sent to today's youth. Millions of young people struggling with a variety of issues are being encouraged to `come out' as a solution to their problems. Our goal is to point teens, their parents and teachers in another direction -- that of an achievable, healthy, normal heterosexual identity," says Paulk.
Focus on the Family is committed to helping families sort through the facts and fiction surrounding youth and homosexuality. Beginning next month, Focus will host conferences nationwide that will address the promotion of homosexuality within the public school setting.
"We believe that a young person struggling with homosexual tendencies should also be informed of healthy alternatives to homosexuality," says Paulk. "It is irresponsible for educators to steer that person into a potentially dangerous and lonely lifestyle. Through our conferences, we hope to equip and educate all those concerned about the influence of homosexuality on kids."
John and Anne Paulk recently participated in a national ad campaign featuring ex-gays. The firestorm that ensued landed the couple on the cover of Newsweek magazine, as well as in stories run on ABC World News Tonight, U.S. News and World Report, Time, Los Angeles Times, USA TODAY, and many others.
Check out Focus on the Family's new college
website at www.boundless.org. Articles this week explore `National Coming Out of
Wed Oct 7, 1998 -FUNDAMENTALISTS ANOUNCE
"EX-GAY" PRESS CONFERENCE
With the release of two television commercials produced by the CENTER, the campaign has expanded its outreach, which began with full-page ads in major newspapers nationwide (including The New York Times, USA TODAY, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal). Eighteen major pro-family organizations joined together to respond to the hostility and name-calling aimed at Senator Trent Lott and football player Reggie White, and others, when they simply stated the biblical position that homosexuality is a sin.
The TV spots are designed to address the homosexual issue honestly and lovingly. One of the 60-second formats will feature several former homosexuals who are now happily married and enjoying new lives with their children. Tom Cole, a former homosexual, said, "The dream that I thought I could never have -- a wife and children -- has come true." The ad clearly demonstrates that many have left the lifestyle; in fact, thousands have done so.
Another commercial is designed to appeal to the parents of those struggling in homosexuality. One mother, Frances Johnston, who never stopped loving her son, said, "Just because you love your children, doesn't mean you love everything they do." She refused to embrace a lifestyle that she understood to be immoral and destructive. Her son, Michael Johnston, appears with her in the commercial, thanking her for her persevering love and her unyielding principles.
Janet Folger, national director for the CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA, said, "Each of these ads will emphasize the Christian approach of offering compassionate love without compromising the truth." Dr. D. James Kennedy, Senior Minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and founder of the CENTER, said, "It's not about hate; it's about hope." This tag line appears prominently in each of the ads.
In addition, Michael Johnston, founder and president of Kerusso Ministries, will participate in the press conference, to discuss the National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day, October 11. Mr. Johnston began this event four years ago to encourage those struggling in the lifestyle to seek the deliverance that is possible through the power of Jesus Christ.
Other representatives from the pro-family groups that comprise the "Truth In Love" campaign will also be in attendance.
For more information and interviews, call Carol Krpata, 954-351-3353, ext. 622.
The CENTER FOR RECLAIMING AMERICA, formed by Dr.
D. James Kennedy, is an outreach of Coral Ridge Ministries to inform the American public
and motivate people of faith to defend and implement the biblical principles on which our
country was founded. With members in 50 states, the CENTER provides non- partisan,
interdenominational information, training, and support to all those interested in
impacting the culture and renewing the vision set forth by our Founding
Mon Oct 5, 1998 - RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS
ANNOUNCE ANTI-GAY CELEBRATION
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Kerusso Ministries today announced the fourth annual National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day (NCOHD) on October 11. The annual event is a direct counter to the pro-homosexual message of organizations like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Human Rights Campaign and P-FLAG. Michael Johnston, national chair of the event and a former homosexual with AIDS said Monday, "The message from homosexual lobby groups is one of anger and despair. They consistently blame everyone else for their misery and offer no hope to the adult or young person struggling with homosexual desires. All they can say is 'give up and give in'. The NCOHD project offers a different message, a message of compassion and hope.
"There are thousands of men, women and young people who have rejected a homosexual identity and gone on to live healthy normal lives," Johnston said. He readily acknowledges that the walk out of homosexuality can be a difficult one. "These individuals desperately need to know that they are not alone and that many are willing to guide and encourage them." Johnston walked away from homosexuality in 1988 after living for eleven years as an active homosexual. Johnston said, "It is unfortunate that homosexual lobby groups continue to deny and even work to suppress the truth about so many who have walked away from homosexuality. It is cruel and anything but compassionate. They have convinced many, including many in the media, to believe a lie. This week we will take the truth to the streets to help the hurting. We will do it one community at a time, one heart at a time; that they may know the truth and the truth will set them free."
Events surrounding the October 11 observance of the National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day will span the country from coast to coast. Activities will include educational and ministerial outreach in local communities, churches and on college campuses. Radio specials highlighting the stories of former homosexuals are scheduled for hundreds of radio stations across the country as well as television broadcasts in many markets.
National Sponsors include: American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Christian Action League of North Carolina, Christian Coalition of Alaska, Christian Coalition of Colorado, Christian Coalition of Washington, Christian Family Network, Citizens for Community Values, Colorado for Family Values, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries/Center for Reclaiming America, CrossOver Ministries, Exodus International (North America), Family Defense Council, Family Research Council, Family First, Family Watch, Inc., Focus on the Family, Foundation for Christian Alternatives, Freedom At Last, Institute for Media Education, Liberty Counsel, Living Hope, Love of God Outreach, Metanoia Ministries, Mission America, Mothers for Good Government, New Creation Ministries (California), New Creation Ministries (Hawaii), New Hope Ministries, Outpost, Regeneration, Renew America, Stop Promoting Homosexuality America, The National Legal Foundation, Transforming Congregations, Washington for Traditional Values and Washington Opposed to Pro-Homosexual Policies."