Oregon legislators urge Congress to act following attack on Issaquah man

June 30, 2009

By Staff

Oregon legislators have condemned violence against an Issaquah man who was assaulted during an anti-gay attack while on a spring break trip to Seaside, Ore.Members of the state House of Representatives and Senate passed a ceremonial resolution condemning the attack and asking Congress and President Obama to pass and enact federal hate crime legislation.

Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt and Senate President Peter Courtney signed the document last week.

An Issaquah man and his boyfriend were beaten unconscious March 22 during an incident Oregon authorities described as a hate crime. The men were attacked on a beach in Seaside, a resort town with about 6,000 residents.

The other man beaten during the attack is a Bothell resident. The men, 22 and 23, are Shoreline Community College nursing students.

Investigators said the men stopped by a beach campfire after midnight March 22. When they left the campfire for a walk along the water, three or four men dressed in black attacked them. Both men were beaten until they lost consciousness, police said.

When they regained consciousness, they walked to the Best Western Ocean View Resort, where hotel staff contacted the Seaside Police Department. The men were treated for injuries at a Seaside hospital and released.

The resolution urges federal lawmakers to adopt the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also called the Matthew Shepard Act, after a gay university student beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998.

The legislation would extend the definition of bias crimes to include sexual orientation or gender identity, and make it easier for state and local authorities to pursue hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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