Gays who are physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation receive new federal hate crime protections under legislation heading for President Barack Obama's signature.
With a Senate vote on Thursday, Congress has approved a measure that expands current law to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
That's one of the most significant expansions of the law since it was enacted after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
The bill would provide financial aid to states prosecuting hate crimes and would allow the Justice Department to step in when a state is unwilling or unable to follow through on a purported hate crime.
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