The mother and father of gay hate crime victim Matthew Shepard have backed US presidential candidate Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention.
Speaking from their home state of Wyoming, Judy and Dennis Shepard (pictured, centre) praised Biden’s efforts in passing hate crime laws during the Obama administration.
“After our son’s death in Wyoming, Joe Biden helped pass the legislation to protect LGBTQ Americans from hate crimes,” Dennis said during the virtual convention.
“He understands more than most our grief over Matt’s death.
“But we see in Joe so much of what made Matt’s life special: his commitment to equality, his passion for social justice, and his boundless compassion for others.”
The Shepards announced Wyoming’s votes in a roll call alongside other US states and territories.
Together, the votes confirm Biden and his Vice President pick Kamala Harris as the Democratic nominees.
The US election will be held on November 3.
In 1998, Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and left to die in a vicious hate crime in rural Wyoming.
Shepard’s attackers left him tied to a fence for 18 hours until a passer-by discovered him. Matthew Shepard died five days later in hospital on October 12.
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson received life sentences for Shepard’s murder a year later.
The gay man’s tragic death would become a symbol of anti-gay violence, drawing national outrage.
In 2009, Matthew’s name was on Obama administration legislation making it a federal crime to assault someone because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Matthew Shepard’s parents slam Trump administration
After Matthew’s death, his parents established the Matthew Shepard Foundation to fight for LGBTIQ equality.
However last year, the Shepards slammed the Trump administration for their marking of the ten-year anniversary of the act’s passage.
Judy and Dennis Shepard skipped the ceremony. They slammed the Trump administration for invoking Matthew’s memory while also fighting against legal protections for LGBTIQ employees.
“We find it interesting and hypocritical that he would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law,” the couple said in a letter.
“While at the same time, asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalised firing of transgender employees.
“Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honour our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy.”
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