Some States Don’t Protect LGBTQ From Hate Crimes

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It's been 20 years since Matthew Shepard was killed and 20 states still don't protect the LGBTQ community from hate crimes — including Wyoming, the state where Shepard was killed.

Shepard was a 21-year-old, openly gay college student who was tortured to death by two men because he was gay. His death in 1998 became a national symbol for LGBTQ rights.

While the country has been more accepting of LGBTQ lifestyles, some states still lack laws to protect that community. CNN reports 15 states don't mention sexual orientation or gender identity in their hate crime laws and five states don't have hate crime laws. 

In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to expand the hate crime law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. But advocates say it's limited to federal jurisdiction.

In Wyoming, cities have taken matters into their own hands. Jackson and Laramie passed hate crime ordinances that include sexual orientation and gender identity.