Judy Shepard, the mother of gay murder victim Matthew Shepard, has condemned the “hatred” of Donald Trump’s campaign in an ad.
In 1998, 21-year-old gay student Matthew Shepard was tortured and left for dead by two men in Laramie, Wyoming.
Mr Shepard’s death and the subsequent court case shocked America, leading to a push for hate crimes legislation spearheaded by his parents, Judy and Dennis.
Mrs Shepard, the co-founder of the pro-LGBT Matthew Shepard Foundation, spoke out today against the “hatred” of Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
In an advert, she says: “I’ve seen what can happen as the result of hate. My son Matt was murdered in 1998. He was befriended by two men in a bar, who pretended to be gay.
“They offered him a ride home, and when he was in their car, they robbed him and beat him. They drove Matt out to the prarie and tied him to a split-rail fence, beat him some more, then left him for dead.
“In the aftermath of Matt’s death, my family saw the best of America in the love and support we were shown.
“So when I see the hate that Donald Trump brings to his campaign for president, it terrifies me.
“Words have an influence. Violence causes pain. Hate can rip us apart. I know what can happen as the result of hate, and Donald Trump should never be our president.”
Trump has faced scrutiny over racist and sexist comments as well as his anti-LGBT policy agenda.
In a bid to attract support from evangelicals, Trump has confirmed he would “consider” appointing ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices to repeal equal marriage, come out in favour of North Carolina’s anti-trans law, and confirmed he would sign a Republican-backed bill to directly permit religious homophobic discrimination – while his running mate Mike Pence has confirmed he would dismantle Barack Obama’s protections for LGBT people.