Mixed views on hate crime law bearing Matthew Shepard’s name

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NEW YORK (AP) — Twenty years after Matthew Shepard’s death , the federal hate crimes law bearing his name is viewed with mixed feelings by LGBT organizations that lobbied for it over nearly a decade.

The act was signed into law Oct. 28, 2009, about 11 years after Shepard died. The gay 21-year-old had been beaten by two Wyoming men and left tied to a rail fence.

The act expanded the 1969 federal hate-crime law to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since then, some activists have been disappointed by the relatively low number of anti-LGBT cases prosecuted under the law. Others consider it a success because of its role in motivating state and local prosecutors to take anti-LGBT violence more seriously.

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A leader with the New York City Anti-Violence Project says the U.S. needs broader change such as “economic justice” and better housing options for marginalized LGBT people.

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