ORLANDO – Seven years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law – a sweeping measure that expanded the 1969 hate crime laws to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Congressman Mica voted against the law.
Matthew Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and murdered in 1996 because he was gay. James Byrd Jr. was an African-American male who was murdered in 1998 by three men because of his race.
“How many times can Congressman Mica vote against protecting all members of our community? Central Florida has had enough of Congressman Mica’s far-right, out-of-touch voting record,” said Murphy. “The Pulse shooting was not just a terrorist attack and the largest mass shooting in American history – it was also a hate crime – and Congressman Mica has voted time and again against cracking down on hate crimes. He has also twice voted against the Violence Against Women Act. Just what will it take for Congressman Mica to put the people of central Florida ahead of his own out-of-touch political agenda?”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, a crime motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against the victim occurs every hour in the United States.
Congressman John Mica voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. [Roll Call 770, 08 October 2009]
Stephanie Murphy is an educator, businesswoman, and former national security specialist who is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress in Florida’s Seventh Congressional District. Stephanie currently works as an executive at Sungate Capital where she is responsible for leading investment efforts and implementing government affairs initiatives. She is also an instructor of business and social entrepreneurship at Rollins College. Previously, Stephanie served as a national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she received numerous awards for her distinguished service, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. Stephanie lives in Winter Park with her husband and two children, Liem and Maya ages five and two.