In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, with Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, at his side. The legislation was an expansion on the existing hate crimes law, granting added protection from crimes against a person on the basis of his or her gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The law was signed almost exactly 11 years after Matthew Shepard died. 3 Presidential terms, 6 Congresses, and 11 long years.