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Shepard Calls Tenn. Anti-Gay Bills Disturbing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The father of a gay college student who died after being beaten says he's disturbed by anti-gay legislation being proposed in Tennessee.

Dennis Shepard spoke at a Nashville news conference Wednesday. Shepard's son, Matt, was 21 when he was beaten 14 years ago in Wyoming, tied to a fence and left in the cold by two men he met in a bar.

His death spurred passage of a measure that expanded an earlier federal hate crime law to include sexual orientation, among other things.

Shepard says a proposal in Tennessee to ban public schools from teaching about gay issues is an example of legislation that could be harmful to gays.

Shepard is in town to speak to a conference that focuses on the federal hate crimes law that bears his son’s name. That conference will get underway in about an hour on the campus of Tennessee State University.