Brian Faler
October 23, 2009

[efoods]Congress gave final approval and sent to President Barack Obama legislation to add gays to the list of groups covered by U.S. hate-crime laws.

The Senate voted 68 to 29 yesterday in favor of the plan as part of a defense policy measure. The House approved the bill earlier this month. Democrats, who had been pushing the expansion for a decade, hailed the legislation.

“Hate crimes affect not just the victim — they victimize the entire community,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. “We cannot allow our communities to be terrorized by hatred and violence.”

Republicans criticized the provision as unnecessary, saying violent crimes are illegal regardless of the offenders’ motivations.

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