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IPFS News Link • Legislative Mischief

Congress may extend hate crimes laws to cover gays

• AP
Assaulting people because of their sexual orientation would become a federal hate crime in legislation the House is set to vote on Thursday. The bill would significantly expand the hate crimes law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968.

With the expected House passage and eventual approval by the Senate, federal prosecutors will for the first time be able to intervene in cases of violence perpetrated against gays based on their sexual orientation.

Civil rights groups and their Democratic allies have been trying for decades to broaden the reach of hate crimes law. This time it appears they will succeed. The measure is attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill and President Barack Obama - unlike President George W. Bush - is a strong supporter.