News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Earlier today, on a 54-43 vote, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on federal Hate Crimes legislation, delaying indefinitely the bill to offer new protections to victims of crimes motivated by race, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Republican Senators who threatened a filibuster forced a cloture vote, thus requiring 60 votes to cut off debate. Unfortunately, only 54 Senators voted for cloture, after seven Republicans who had previously supported Hate Crimes legislation, voted against cloture.

Sen. Murray released the following statement:

"In every corner of our country, and in every corner of my state, communities have been trying to respond to hate crimes. Despite great gains in equality and civil rights throughout the last century, too many Americans are still subjected to discrimination, violence, and even death because of who they are.

At a time when America is fighting a war on terror to prevent future terrorist attacks, thousands of Americans are attacked each year out of hatred for their religion, the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. And these senseless acts of violence are also terrorist acts, designed to instill fear in entire groups of people.

The Hate Crimes legislation would have given law enforcement more tools to fight this special brand of crime. It would have expanded the definition of a hate crime while improving prosecution of those who act out their hate with violence.

It also would have required the FBI to document and report hate crimes committed against women. Previously, the FBI was only required to collect data from crimes committed because of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and ethnicity.

But today in the Senate, a determined minority of Senators blocked the Hate Crimes bill, further delaying action on this important legislation.

I sincerely hope that when this bill comes back for a vote, Senators will stand up for the victims of hate crimes and pass this important legislation."