Monday, October 6, 2008

On October 6

On this day in ...
... 1999, by its Resolution 54/4, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The treaty, which establishes a mechanism for monitoring compliance with the principal convention, was opened for signature 2 months later, and entered into force on December 22, 2000. It has 90 states parties; not among them is the United States, which is not a party to the principal convention, either.
... 1998 (10 years ago today), late at night, after luring him out of a bar, attackers beat and tied to a post Matthew Shepard (below right), 21, a gay student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He was unconscious when discovered the following evening, and died on October 12. Shepard's death provoked outrage throughout the country; President Bill Clinton declared: "[C]rimes of hate and crimes of violence cannot be tolerated in our country." In 2007, the Matthew Shepard Act, federal legislation targeting hate crimes based on a victim's perceived sexual orientation passed the Senate but failed to become law. This epilogue takes a look at Laramie 10 years later.

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