Hate-Crimes Law to Cover Gays

An important moment for civil rights: The Senate voted on Thursday to expand federal hate-crime protections to cover those physically attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities. Senator Edward Kennedy originally proposed such an expansion to the 1968 hate-crimes act in 1997. President Obama strongly endorsed the measure, and the vote came after Democrats cleared a 60-vote hurdle to overcome Republican opposition to the bill. It passed the Senate floor 63-28. According to the Associated Press, “The hate-crimes bill was offered as an amendment to a must-pass defense spending bill that the Senate is expected to finish some time next week.”