WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- State Representative Ed Murray (D-Seattle) will address the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation when he presents Whitman’s second Matthew Shepard Lecture here on Thursday, Oct. 27.
Murray will present “Banning Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in the State of Washington (House Bill 1515)” at 8 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium, near Otis and Boyer, Whitman College campus. His presentation is free and open to the public.
Murray has personally introduced the Anderson/Murray Anti-Discrimination Bill (House Bill 1515) to the legislature for the past 10 years. The bill, which would protect citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation at the workplace, in housing, banking, insurance or business transactions, recently passed the House and failed in the Senate by one vote. More information on the bill and its current status can be found online at http://www.leg.wa.gov/wsladm/billinfo1/dspBillSummary.cfm?billnumber=151.
Rep. Murray has been a champion of equal rights and civil liberties from the start of his career as an activist 18 years ago and as a member of the House of Representatives since 1995, when he was the only openly gay member of the House or Senate. Although now serving as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Murray has continued his interest in protection against discrimination. Before assuming his role as chairman of transportation, Rep. Murray served as the chair of the Capital Budget Committee, where he led efforts to increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund, farm worker housing and the state’s community college system.
His honors and awards include the Abolitionist Award from the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Human Rights Award from the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the Housing Hero award, and the Leadership Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign.
Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was murdered in Laramie, Wyo., in October 1998 because he was gay. Two men were found guilty in 1999 and are serving life sentences for Shepard’s murder. Judy and Dennis Shepard established the Matthew Shepard Foundation to honor their son after his death. The Matthew Shepard Lecture Series, funded by an anonymous donor, began last year at Whitman. The series will bring speakers and public speakers to the campus to address hate crimes and issues of equal rights for all persons regardless of sexual orientation.