We are happy that the Matthew Shepard Act, adding
sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing federal hate crimes
law, will finally be signed into law at the White House on Wednesday, October
28, by President Obama. We are pleased that our son, Damien, and his
wife Tricia, will be in attendance at the signing. We would be
attending the signing ceremony at the White House pursuant to the
invitation extended to us by U.S. Representive Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, except
that we are currently attending the murder trial of the man accused of murdering
our son, which is the reason that the Matthew Shepard Act is so important.
Had this legislation passed at an earlier date, the men who killed our son, Ryan
Skipper, would have faced an additional federal charge, with an additional
punishment, and there would have been federal resources available that would
have enabled a thorough investigation of the anti-gay bias surrounding this
horrible crime. Tragically, none of that currently applies today at the
murder trial for the man accused of killing our son.