Judy and Dennis Shepard, whose son Matthew was murdered in a hate crime that shocked the nation in 1998, strongly criticized Attorney General William Barr – and by extension the Trump administration – last week for the Justice Department’s argument before the Supreme Court that employers should be able to fire employees if they are transgender. (The Shepards are pictured above speaking at the Out Leadership 2018 Europe Summit).
They made their criticism at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the 1969 federal hate-crime law to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Cynthia Deitle, a former FBI agent and now an executive with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, read a scathing letter written by Mr. and Mrs. Shepard:
“We find it interesting and hypocritical that he (Barr) would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while, at the same time, asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees. Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways. Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy.”
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