Judy Shepard and Maggie Rodriguez, CBS On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to gay rights activist Judy Shepard, mother of murdered gay student Matthew Shepard, about the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, asking: "Do you think that our young people, that we, as a society, have learned anything since Matthew's death?"

In reply, Shepard ranted: "...we have such vicious rhetoric still floating around the country....All you have to do is go to the floor of the Congress, or media, the newspapers, about the discontent with 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and the marriage issue and it still seems like we're trying to relegate the gay community to a second-class citizen."

Rodriguez wondered: "What do you think that Congress or lawmakers should be doing differently?" Shepard used the opportunity to promote liberal agenda items: "Well, they should be granting basic civil rights to the gay community instead of continuing to try to deny them....To deny them service in the military or job security on a federal level or even the right to marry and receive all those benefits that are derived from that, it's just – it's just unfair, and, in my view, un-American."

Later, Rodriguez brought up the role of the internet in driving Clementi to suicide. Shepard declared: "...the blogosphere is particularly damaging, full of opinions that really have no accountability, that people take as the absolute truth. There's a real danger in what happens on the internet now."


Maggie Rodriguez, CBS Approaching the 11-year anniversary of the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with his mother Judy Shepard and asked about her efforts to pass hate crimes legislation: "Do you think this is finally the administration and the Congress that will get it done?"

Shepard, who was on to discuss her new book about her son, was hopeful that it would pass, especially after some legislative manipulation: "Well, I hope so. We know that this President will sign it if the bill comes to his desk, with his other requirements, because it’s attached to a Department of Defense bill, so that makes it a little trickier now. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed."

When Rodriguez initially asked about her activism, Shepard praised the role of the media in pushing the gay rights agenda: "What Matt’s story did was cause a lot of unintended education, if you will, through the press. People were made aware of what was going on in the gay community and it started a national dialogue...The gay community was part of every public discussion, where it used to be, you know, something you didn’t talk about, in the closet, if you will."