Log Cabin Calls for Death Penalty for Murderers of Matthew Shepard

"Brutality of this Kind is Intolerable, Indefensible and Deserving of the Most Severe Punishment," says Gay GOP Group

October 13, 1998 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – The nation's largest gay Republican organization condemned the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a 21 year-old gay student in Laramie, Wyoming, and called on prosecutors to seek the death penalty under current Wyoming law for the suspects who have been charged with the crime.

"This was an incomprehensible act of brutality against an innocent and defenseless person," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "From the evidence, it is clear that anti-gay hatred was a factor in this crime, but the sheer savagery of the murder of Matthew Shepard is of such a magnitude that there should be no question but to seek the most severe punishment available under the laws of Wyoming – the death penalty. Society must send the strongest message that brutality of this kind is intolerable, indefensible and deserving of the most severe punishment."

Tafel praised Governor Jim Geringer (R-WY) for his swift and outspoken condemnation of the crime, and for sending the message that while the state legislature should work to address the problem of hate crimes in Wyoming, there is also a bigger societal problem that must be addressed immediately by the citizens of the state.

"Governor Geringer is correct in focusing the immediate response on what this horrifying act says about the condition of our society in general," Tafel said, "and the need for all of us to reflect on how such a thing could happen. While Matthew Shepard's killers must be brought to justice, and legislation could be a short-term goal, we must tackle the larger issue of hatred and violence in our society immediately. We should, as a nation, ask ourselves why this happened, and what each of us can do from preventing it from ever happening again."