President Obama has signed a new law that expands the definition of a hate crime to cover outlaw attacks based on sexual orientation or gender in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.

The bill, which Obama signed today, is rooted in two killings from 1998 and is called the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

"After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray, or who they are," Obama said in signing the defense budget bill that includes the new hate-crimes law.

The new law basically expands existing hate-crime protections to outlaw attacks based on sexual orientation or gender, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.

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