NC Rep Calls Shepard Murder a 'Hoax'
Republican cops to 'poor choice of words' in House debate
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2009 12:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – A North Carolina congresswoman is backtracking after saying during a House debate that the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard was a “hoax” used by gay-rights activists, WTVD-TV of Raleigh-Durham reports. Arguing against a new hate-crimes bill, Republican Virginia Foxx said the highly publicized killing of Shepard—whose mother was in the chamber because the legislation bears his name—“wasn't because he was gay."

Foxx, who called the case “a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills," later said her comments were “a poor choice of words.” Other House members and gay rights activists were appalled, and Rep. John Lewis said Foxx’s remarks were “unreal, unbelievable.”