October 22, 2009
For Immediate Release
LOS ANGELES, CA--Integrity applauds the passage today of the groundbreaking legislation making it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Since 1988 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church as been on record supporting legislation protecting all Americans from hate motivated violence," said Integrity President David Norgard. "And so we rejoice today with all who have worked so long and so hard to move this legislation forward. Our prayers are particularly with Judy and Dennis Shepard and their family, who turned the tragedy of the death of their son Matthew into advocacy on behalf of all those vulnerable to hate crimes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
In her 2007 letter in support of the bill passed by the Senate today, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori included this quote from former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold: "The fact that Matthew was an Episcopalian makes our grief no more sharp, but it does give us a particular responsibility to stand with gays and lesbians, to decry all forms of violence against them - from verbal to physical, and to encourage the dialogue that can, with God's help, lead to new appreciation for their presence in the life of our church, and the broader community."
Integrity is grateful for the work and witness of ALL those who have stood with the most vulnerable down through the years -- and is committed to continue that advocacy as we follow the Lord who called us always to remember that it is in service to "the least of these" that we live out our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons.
CONTACT: Louise Brooks
Director of Communications