The Senate agreed to expand federal
hate crimes protections Thursday, the AP reported, but a fighter jet
provision complicates final passage.
After a 63 to 28 vote to silence
Republican-led opposition, the bill was attached to a must-pass
The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act
adds disability, gender and sexual orientation to the list of hate
crime protections. The law would also aid state and local
governments prosecute hate crimes.
The bill is named after the University
of Wyoming student who was killed in 1998 by two men he met in a
gay bar. He was beaten and left to die shackled to a post along a
rural road near Laramie.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on
Tuesday announced he would attach the bill to the $690 billion
defense authorization bill.
by Arizona Senator John McCain, mostly oppose the legislation.
McCain called the add-on an “abuse of power” Wednesday.
While amending the defense bill to
include the hate crimes bill greatly increases its chances of passage
and President Obama has urged lawmakers to approve the legislation, a
fighter jet provision complicates the situation. Republicans favor
spending $1.75 billion for additional F-22 fighter jets. But the
president has threatened to veto the spending bill if it includes the
fighter jet provision, which would also kill the now linked hate