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Two gay activists protesting Matthew Shepard's murder, in Los Angeles 1998. Photo: Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images

Twenty years after his murder, the remains of Matthew Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: 15 U.S. states don't include gender identity or sexual orientation in hate crime laws, per CNN, and five don't have hate crime laws at all. Those include Indiana, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Wyoming — where Shepard was murdered. But Shepard, who was robbed, beaten, and tied to a fence in freezing temperatures, became "a symbol of deadly violence against gay people," per the Times, and continues to be a symbol today.

The details: The event at the cathedral, taking place October 26, will be overseen by the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, Rev. V. Gene Robinson, along with the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the Times reports.

  • Wyoming has maintained that Shepard was not killed because he was gay, and, per the Associated Press, this week there was a forum in Laramie, Wyoming, where Shepard was killed, "questioning the prevailing view" that his sexual orientation was the motive for his murder.
  • One of the convicted killers, Russell Henderson, has said he and Aaron McKinney were not motivated by anti-gay hatred. But McKinney "repeatedly used homosexual slurs" in his confession.

Where things stand: Shepard's parents, Judy and Dennis, travel the country advocating for LGBTQ rights, CNN reports. They had a victory in 2009 when President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but advocates argue that state legislatures must take action as well for there to be real protections.

  • In 2017, 52 LGBTQ people were killed in the U.S. because of hate violence, CNN reports — 86% more than the year prior.
  • Bishop Robinson told the NYT that Shepard's death is "a symbol of the kind of mindless, pointless violence against us for no other reason that being who we are. It is important for us to remind ourselves that we are still trying to come out from under that shadow."

Go deeper: Homosexuality still criminalized in much of the world

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.