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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

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.