THE NEW YORK TIMES
By CARL HULSE
Published: October 8, 2009
WASHINGTON — The House voted Thursday to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, a step that would extend new protection to lesbian, gay and transgender people.
Democrats hailed the vote of 281 to 146, which brought the measure to the brink of becoming law, as the culmination of a long push to curb violent expressions of bias like the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student.
“Left unchecked, crimes of this kind threaten to ruin the very fabric of America,” said Representative Susan A. Davis, Democrat of California, a leading supporter of the legislation.