ADL Condemns Rep. Foxx’s ‘Insensitive’ Remarks During Hate Crimes Legislative Debate
Washington, D.C., April 30, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League objected to U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx’s (R- N.C.) intemperate and insensitive remarks on the House floor during the debate on HR 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act.
During the debate, Rep. Foxx stated:
I also would like to point out that there was a bill, the hate crimes bill called the Matthew Shepard Act, named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed. But we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it is really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.
The League welcomed press reports that indicate Rep. Foxx later stated that “The term 'hoax' was a poor choice of words...” but any suggestion that the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard has been used for the purpose of fraudulently generating support for federal hate crime legislation is deeply offensive – and suggests that Rep. Foxx is seriously misinformed about the facts of that crime.
In fact, David O’Malley, the former Police Chief of Laramie, Wyoming and one of the investigators of the case, has stated, “I have never seen a clearer example of hate motivated crime and the negative ramifications it has on our society.” There is very substantial, conclusive evidence that Mr. Shepard was beaten and left to die because he was gay.
Reasonable people can and will disagree about the parameters of appropriate federal involvement in bias-motivated criminal conduct. Rep. Foxx’s statement was totally callous, inappropriate, inaccurate, and harmful.
We believe she has an obligation to set the record straight in a statement.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.