Here's what Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) had to say on the floor of the House of Representatives today:
"The hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard Bill [sic] is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed. But we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's, it's really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills."
GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano responded in a statement released today:
Congresswoman Foxx's comments are repugnant and should be condemned by all fair-minded people in the strongest possible terms. We urge media to expose Foxx's falsehood and her malicious disregard for the basic facts of this case.
Just the other day we saw Glenn Beck, the host of Fox News' Glenn Beck Program, allow Sandy Rios, president of the anti-gay Culture Campaign, to perpetuate the same false and hurtful claim.
This piece says much, much more about 20/20 than it does about the murder of Matthew Shepard. 20/20's misleading oversimplifications and distortions do a tremendous disservice to a complicated case. This simply is not a credible piece of journalism.
Take a moment and read through GLAAD's "10 QUESTIONS ABOUT ABC’S 20/20 SHOW ON MATTHEW SHEPARD" for more information.
It's unfortunate that many conservatives and conservative media outlets are twisting the facts are mis-reporting both the story of Matthew Shepard and the impact of the pending hate crime legislation.
For instance, here is Molly Henneberg who, "uncritically reported the false claim made by religious groups that the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would allow individuals or groups to "be prosecuted for their religious beliefs."
Even on the local level, you can find reports like the below from Texas, where KTBB AM 600's Garth Maier takes listeners' calls and falsely claims the legislation could "potentially criminalize preaching against homosexuality," and that its "opening up a can of worms."
GLAAD is continuing to monitor the media for mis-reporting like you see above. We're reaching out, asking for corrections and clarification, urging members and supporters to take action where necessary, and working to ensure fair, accurate and inclusive coverage of this and other issues important to the LGBT community.