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Barack Obama

Presidency

What hate crimes law did Obama sign?

In October 2009, Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. It expanded the existing federal hate-crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

“You understood that we must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones, but to break spirits—not only to inflict harm, but to instill fear,” Obama said, “You understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights—both from unjust laws and violent acts. And you understand how necessary this law continues to be.”



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