House Votes to Expand Hate Crimes Definition:
The House voted Thursday to expand the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, a step that would extend new protection to lesbian, gay and transgender people.
Under current federal law, hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction are defined as those motivated by the victim’s race, color, religion or national origin.
The new measure would broaden the definition to include those committed because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It was approved by the House right before a weekend when gay rights will be a focus in Washington, with a march to the Capitol and a speech by President Obama to the Human Rights Campaign.