Yesterday, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) generated intense controversy when she railed against The Matthew Shepard Act, which would expand the definition of hate crimes to “those motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.” Foxx claimed that Shepard’s horrific murder was a “hoax.” “We know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay,” she said. Watch it:
Today, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solomnese — who was sitting in the House gallery with Shepard’s mother yesterday when Foxx made her comments — wrote the congresswoman a letter calling on her to make a full apology. Foxx’s office has now released a statement, saying that “hoax” was a “poor choice of words.” “I am especially sorry if his grieving family was offended by my statement,” she added. However, she said she still stands by her belief that Shepard’s murder may not have been motivated by hate.