Matthew Shepard's parents blast Barr's LGBTQ record in anniversary of hate crime law

Matthew Shepard's parents blast Barr's LGBTQ record in anniversary of hate crime law
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The parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay man whose murder made national headlines in 1998, blasted Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHow would a Biden Justice Department be different? Joe Biden played it safe Kamala Harris: The right choice at the right time MORE in a letter read at a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of a landmark hate crime law named after their son, according to The Associated Press.

In the letter, which was read out loud by a former FBI agent Wednesday, Judy and Dennis Shepard praised the work of the Justice Department to implement the law but criticized Barr for arguing in court for employers’ right to fire transgender employees.


“Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways. Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy,” they said in the statement.

The letter states that Barr “must demonstrate courage, even if it means disagreeing with the administration. So far, he has done none of these deeds.”

Attendees gave a standing ovation after former agent Cynthia Deitle, who serves as programs and operations director for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, finished reading it. The Shepards did not attend the ceremony due to a scheduling conflict.

Shepard was beaten, tortured and left for dead in Laramie, Wyo., in 1998, dying six days later. Two men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were convicted of first-degree murder.

The murder galvanized the LGBTQ community and became the namesake of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, referring to the racially-motivated murder of Byrd in Texas the same year.

The bill did not pass until 2009.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.