"Ten years after his brutal murder, those who knew him best -- and those who learned of him only at the end -- remember that week in October and reflect on the legacy of Matthew Shepard.
On Wednesday, October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard was found tied to a fence on the Wyoming prairie, barely alive, his skull fractured and his brain stem crushed. Comatose, he was taken first to a Laramie hospital, then to a better-equipped one in Fort Collins, Colo., where he died five days later. We may never know what his killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, intended to do when they first approached Shepard at Laramie’s Fireside Lounge. We only know that, whatever their intention, they ended up murdering him.
Almost instantly, his death became a flash point in this country’s reckoning with gay people, and the cute, clean-cut 21-year-old became a symbol of the ravages of intolerance. The tragedy sparked vigils around the world and led to federal hate-crimes legislation that bears Shepard’s name, currently pending in Congress. (Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has promised to sign the bill if elected.)
Shepard’s impact can also be felt in the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, headed by his mother, Judy, whom we spoke with for the following oral history -- along with friends and Laramie residents; the police chief who oversaw the investigation into the murder; and artists influenced by that tumultuous week."Click here to read more of this article from The Advocate.
Another good article - "FBI hate crimes report: disturbing trends against Hispanics and gays."
Where McCain & Obama stand on gay-marriage (Associated Press)