Matthew Shepard's ashes to be interred at National Cathedral
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The ashes of Matthew Shepard, whose death 20 years ago marked a flashpoint for the LGBTQ rights movement, will be interred later this month at the Washington National Cathedral.

The cathedral announced Thursday that it would host a service for Shepard on Oct. 26.

"Matthew’s death on Oct. 12, 1998, shocked the conscience of the nation and electrified the LGBTQ movement," the cathedral said in a statement on its website. "While Matthew died too young, his death nonetheless gave life to a new generation of activists and allies who are committed to proclaiming God’s love for all of God’s children — no exceptions or exclusions."


The New York Times reported that Shepard's family had been hesitant following Matthew's death to settle on a final resting place out of fear it would be desecrated. They ultimately settled on the National Cathedral, an Episcopalian church that recently hosted services for the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Flynn awaits sentencing | White House signals it wants to avoid shutdown Arizona gov taps McSally for McCain Senate seat Michelle Obama reflects on 'refreshing' tradition of sharing candy with George W. Bush MORE (R-Ariz.).

“I think it’s the perfect, appropriate place,” Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father, told the newspaper.

“It’s a place where there’s an actual chance for others to sit and reflect about Matthew, and about themselves, and about their friends,” Dennis Shepard added.

Matthew Shepard was 21 when he was robbed by two men, pistol-whipped, tied to a fence and left to die in Laramie, Wyo. Shepard died a short time later in a hospital.

His death became a symbol of the violence the LGBTQ community endured, and led to Congress passing legislation aimed at preventing hate crimes.

Shepard's mother, Judy, was featured in a 2016 campaign ad supporting Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone fundraising off promise not to testify against Trump Rivaling chants of 'USA,' 'lock him up' greet Flynn after sentencing hearing The Hill's 12:30 Report — Flynn awaits sentencing | White House signals it wants to avoid shutdown MORE and warning against the dangers of then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE's rhetoric.

"Words have an influence; violence causes pain; hate can rip us apart," Shepard said in an ad. "I know what can happen as the result of hate, and Donald Trump should never be our president."

--This report was updated at 11:18 a.m.