Yesterday, Obama signed a bill making it a federal crime to assault a person based on their sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act expands upon already present hate-crime laws that already protected people targeted due to their race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.
The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen who was kidnapped, tortured, and beaten to death in 1988, as well as James Byrd Jr., a black man who was beaten and dragged behind a car until he was decapitated in Texas.
"As a nation we've come far on the journey towards a more perfect union. And today, we've taken another step forward," The Advocate reports Obama saying after the signing. "This is the culmination of a struggle that has lasted more than a decade. Time and again, we faced opposition. Time and again, the measure was defeated or delayed. Time and again we've been reminded of the difficulty of building a nation in which we're all free to live and love as we see fit."
To read more on the bill, check out Wikipedia's dedicated to the bill.