a young man who was murdered in Wyoming for being gay. On October 8, 1998 Matthew accepted a ride home from a bar. The two men pistol whipped him and tied him to a fence in freezing temperatures. He was found the next day by someone who originally thought he was a scarecrow, because of his positioning on the fence.
His killers said Matthew hit on them and they felt threatened. The judge rejected the "gay panic defense" and they were sent to jail.
His mother, Judy Shepard, has become an activist for GLBT rights, and a GLBT-inclusive National Hate Crimes bill bears Matthew's name.
President Obama is expected to sign the Matthew Shepard Act into law, providing legal protection to GLBT Americans.