10-Year Anniversary of Matthew Shepard's Murder - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

10-Year Anniversary of Matthew Shepard's Murder

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KENNEWICK, Wash--  Sunday marks ten years since the death of Matthew Shepard.  There was a moment of silence in honor of the 21-year-old student who was brutally attacked in Wyoming.  

The case drew national attention and sparked hate crime discussion because Shepard was gay. 

But ten years later, has tolerance and acceptance increased?  One local advocacy group remains optimistic.

"In 10 years have things changed?," asks Mark Lee, executive director of the Vista Youth Center.  "My belief is yes, more people are out.   Younger people are more willing to come out at a younger age.

"There are some strides that have been made," notes Janet Pierce, a Pastor.  "People have more rights now than they used to.   But there's still a long way to go."

Just this week, Connecticut became the third state to recognize same-sex marriage, behind Massachussetts and California. 

Still, many are asking for better hate crime laws.