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

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Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Where key GOP senators stand on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee this week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with less than 50 days until Election Day.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election, meaning that two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 30,873,714 — Total deaths: 958,383— Total recoveries: 21,103,559Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,788,343 — Total deaths: 199,421 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Biden to Senate GOP after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.