June 26th, 2007



“I received nearly five times as many calls, emails and letters from opponents of [the hate crimes bill] as I did from its supporters."
- Rep. Joe Donnelly
(D-IN) after voting against
the bill.

Don't let the Senate take 5 on hatecrimes!

Send this video to FIVE friends now, and repost this on your own blog using the code below.

Have you watched this new video yet? Since it was released, we’ve topped 200,000 letters to the Senate in support of a federal hate crimes law.
But according to staffers at the U.S. Senate, opponents of the Matthew Shepard Act are still beating us five to one in emails, calls, and letters. 
Five to one. Not good. Can you watch the video, then tell at least FIVE of your friends to do the same?


Click here to pass along the video, or copy this sample text into an email:


You've got to watch this video. Thousands of people are attacked every year because of their sexual orientation, and there's still no federal hate crimes law to protect them. This video is the most powerful statement I've seen on hate crimes, and I couldn't help but pass it on. I think you'll see why.


There's a bill in the Senate right now that would address this heartbreaking problem, and we only have a few weeks until the vote. It would mean a lot to me if you could take a minute to watch the video and write your Senators, and then pass this along to five friends. I really believe none of us can sit this one out. Just go to:



Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese

Having trouble clicking on the links above? Simply copy and paste this URL into your browser's address bar to take action today: http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/fighthate_video/forward

© 2007 The Human Rights Campaign. All rights reserved.
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Phone: 202/628-4160 TTY: 202/216-1572 Fax:202/347-5323


Open Thread - Weigh In On This One

Convicted killer's bid for sex change draws big costs

Convicted killer Robert J. Kosilek, shown in court in 1993, legally changed his name to Michelle. He claimed he killed his wife in self-defense.

A trial that opened more than a year ago has become bogged down in Boston federal court.

There have been hundreds of hours of testimony from witnesses, including 10 medical specialists paid tens of thousands of dollars. The judge himself even hired an expert to help him make sense of it all.

The question at the center of the case: Should a murderer serving life in prison get a sex-change operation at taxpayer expense?

The case of Michelle -- formerly Robert -- Kosilek is being closely watched across the country by advocates for other inmates who want to undergo a sex change. Transgender inmates in other states have sued prison officials, and not one has succeeded in persuading a judge to order a sex-change operation.

The Massachusetts Correction Department is vigorously fighting Kosilek's request for surgery, saying it would create a security nightmare and make Kosilek a target for sexual assault.

An Associated Press review of the case, including figures obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews, found that the Correction Department and its outside health care provider have spent more than $52,000 on experts to testify about an operation that would cost about $20,000.

The duration and expense of the case have outraged some lawmakers who insist that taxpayers should not have to pay for inmates to have surgery that most private insurers reject as elective.

"They are prisoners. They are there because they've broken the law," said Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, who unsuccessfully introduced a bill to ban sex-change surgery for inmates. "Other folks, people who want to get these types of surgeries, they have to go through their insurance carrier or save up for it and do it independently. Yet if you are in prison, you can do it for nothing? That doesn't make a lot of sense."

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What do you think about this case, and what is your opinion - does it matter in cases like this if the person is a convict seeking state assistance to fund the surgery & treatment, or should the person be left to their own devices?