On October 8, 2009, the US House of Representatives voted 281-146 to approve legislation extending the definition of federal hate crimes to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was authorized with a $681 billion in military appropriations for the 2010 fiscal year. In addition to amending the definition of hate crimes, the measure creates a $5 million grant program for state and local law enforcement agencies investigating hate crimes. The legislation was later approved by the Senate.
Learn more about the legislation from the Human Rights Campaign, and more about hate crimes in the US from the JURIST news archive.