The Washington Blade reports that the Obama campaign is challenging John McCain on his opposition to the Matthew Shepard Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected categories:
In a conference call Monday, an official with the Obama campaign’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Steering Committee noted that Obama is a strong supporter of the Matthew Shepard National Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act while McCain opposes the legislation.
“We feel it’s important to point out the stark contrast between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain on this issue,” said Matt Nosanchuk, an official with the Obama LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.
The challenge came as a result of the sharp increase in anti-GLBT hate violence this year:
[Sharon] Stapel [of the New York City Anti-Violence Project] and Avy Skolnik, who heads the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which is affiliated with the New York group, said recent incidents of anti-gay and anti-trans violence have occurred in at least seven states, including New York, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee and Ohio.
The piece is a welcome effort at showcasing the issue of hate crimes in the campaign. Unfortunately, while the reporter sought comment from the McCain campaign, the story went to press before there was a response. I think a piece like this could have waited a couple of days to provide opportunity for McCain to weigh in.