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Mother of gay hate crime murder victim sobs over marriage ruling

'I told him I didn't think I would see it in my lifetime, but he probably would in his. It's so sad – and ironic – that it turned out the other way,' said Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard
LGBTQ rights campaigner Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard who was murdered in 1998 in a gay hate attack

The name Matthew Shepard sadly become a symbol for LGBT hate crime after he was tortured and murdered in the US state of Wyoming fifteen years ago.

Shepard's mother Judy Shepard spoke about her son's views on gay marriage after yesterday's historic Supreme Court rulings, saying she was 'joyful' and 'tearful' to hear the news.

'I wish he'd been here to see it,' Shepard said to People magazine. 'This case warms my heart, to think that his dream is still coming true.'

Shepard said that she spoke to her son about gay marriage a few months before his murder in October 1998.

'He asked me if I thought gay couples would ever be allowed to get married and he wasn't at all optimistic it would happen. He was in a mindset of, "people are never going to accept us or understand us",' said Shepard.

'I told him I didn't think I would see it in my lifetime, but he probably would in his. It's so sad – and ironic – that it turned out the other way.'

In memory of her son, Shepard set-up the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which supports young LGBTQ people, and campaigned for hate crime legislation.

In 2009 President Obama passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act which expands hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.  

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