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President Obama Signs Hate Bill Covering Gays

WASHINGTON (CN) - Members of the gay community applauded President Obama on Wednesday when he broadened the federal definition of a hate crime to include sexual orientation.

Crimes based on sexual orientation joined crimes based on race, color, religion, and national origin, as being considered hate crimes."No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love," Obama said after signing the bill. "No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability."

Efforts to offer such a protection to the gay community began more than a decade ago.

"Over the sounds of hatred and chaos, over the din of grief and anger, we can still hear those ideals, even when they are faint," Obama said. "At our best we seek to make sure those ideals can be heard and felt by Americans everywhere."

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