Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Human Rights Campaign Praises Washington State for Adding Gender Identity and Expression to Hate Crimes Laws

OLYMPIA, Washington - The Human Rights Campaign praised Governor Christine Gregoire and the Washington State legislature for adding gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crimes laws. Governor Gregoire signed the bill today following positive votes in the legislature. On April 8, the state House of Representatives voted 68-30 to pass SB 5952 following a Senate vote of 36-12 on March 10. Passage came with bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans.

“We applaud Washington State for updating existing hate crimes laws to include protections for gender identity and expression,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We congratulate Senator Joe McDermott for his leadership in sponsoring this bill, as well as Equal Rights Washington, the Washington Student Lobby,and the many activists, including HRC members, who have been working to build support for this bill. We’re pleased that so many legislators, Democrats and Republicans, recognize that this is simply about equal protection under the law.”

“Today is a great day for the state of Washington and all Washingtonians,” said Allyson Robinson, Associate Director for Diversity at the Human Rights Campaign. “This legislation will finally provide protections to our transgender brothers and sisters who are often the targets of the most violent acts of hate. Washington has taken a big leap forward in recognizing the importance of this common-sense legislation.”

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