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In what would be his second veto in as many days, President George W. Bush threatened to veto legislation that would expand the federal hate-crime law to include violent acts motivated by a victim's sexual orientation, gender or disability. Passed by a 237-180 vote in the House of Representatives, the so-called Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, also called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, would also allow the Department of Justice to aid in the investigation and prosecution of cases in which violence occurs against people based on their sexual orientation, race, religion, etc.

In issuing a veto threat, the White House said it opposed a bill that treats crime victims differently from others, saying, "The administration believes that all violent crimes are unacceptable, regardless of the victims, and should be punished firmly." The White House, which called the legislation unnecessary, said the bill also raised constitutional concerns.

While the bill has broad bi-partisan support, it still may not have enough votes to override a veto from the executive branch. However, the legislation has earned the endorsement of a variety of groups, including most LGBT civil rights groups, and more than 210 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, such as the National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.


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