The Matthew Shepard Act has finally passed Congress and has become law, but it has taken many years for this to happen. This long process is representative of the many other pro-LGBT policies that have not been approved. When thinking about the restrictions LGBT individuals have compared to their heterosexual counterparts in America, I get frustrated. LGBT people cannot sponsor their spouses to immigrate to the U.S., they aren’t allowed marital rights, and especially transgender individuals are neglected from consideration in major U.S. policies such as health care reform. We still a long way to go in order for LGBT people to be a protected class under the law. What frustrates me even more is wondering why legislators and other Americans would not support such an Act, despite their personal beliefs about homosexuality, because it increases protection for human beings. Wouldn’t someone be in favor of voting for something that would help reduce the number of killings and heighten punishment for those that do kill based on prejudice? By voting against such a measure, are they saying that they think it is acceptable to kill someone based off of their sexual orientation? To me, I think we should help protect all individuals. Currently there are two anti-bullying and anti-harassment pieces of legislation in Congress: the Student Nondiscrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act. When I went to DC to lobby my U.S. representative and U.S. senators I was irritated because they were hesitant to cosponsor these pieces of legislation. I don’t understand what negative effects are going to come from helping to protect students from bullying and harassment. Why are these legislators not actively trying to protect ALL individuals from bullying, harassment, and murder? UGH.
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