Conservative GOP senator backs hate-crimes bill
Sen. Gordon Smith, a conservative Republican from Oregon, said Sunday at a hate-crimes conference that he favors a federal hate-crimes bill that includes gay and lesbians and would pressure President Bush to support the measure, the Salem Statesman-Journal reports. Smith made his comments at a conference in Eugene, Ore. He was joined by Judy Shepard, mother of slain gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. It says to the haters in our society that there is a consequence for this, Smith said about federal legislation. We find all crimes hateful, but we find this organized hatred particularly odious. And we will come after it with full extent of the law. Smith said the bill will be a wonderful opportunity for President Bush to send a message to the gay community. And I will pressure him as much as I can. Shepard said she hopes the law will be passed soon. We cant help Matt anymore, but we can help someone else who is left, she said.