President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law this afternoon. Here's what it took to achieve this (from HRC.com):
-More than 1 million emails/faxes and phone calls sent to Capitol Hill since 2002 in support of hate crimes legislation;
-More than 300 organizations (civil rights, religious, law enforcement, etc) who signed on in support of the Matthew Shepard Act;
-86,582 total hate crimes reported since the introduction of the first hate crimes bill on November 13, 1997. Of that reported number, 13,528 of those hate crimes have been based on sexual orientation.
-14 floor votes in the House and the Senate over twelve years to finally get the bill to the President's desk;
-At least 26 states whose Attorneys General have supported the hate crimes bill since its' introduction;
-1 President who was an early supporter of hate crimes legislation; 1 who did all he could to stop a hate crimes law for the LGBT community and 1 who signed it into law.