“the Shepards, who said they were unable to attend the ceremony because of travel issues, singled out Attorney General William P. Barr for what they see as the Trump administration’s failure to protect the rights of transgender people. They alluded to cases recently argued before the Supreme Court about gay and transgender people who were fired from their jobs — the Trump administration filed briefs supporting the employers in both cases.

“We find it interesting and hypocritical that he would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while, at the same time, asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees,” the Shepards said of Mr. Barr in their letter, which was read aloud by Cynthia M. Deitle, the programs and operations director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Mr. Barr did not attend the event.

“If you believe that employers should have the right to terminate transgender employees, just because they are transgender, then you believe they are lesser than and not worthy of protection,” the Shepards added.

“Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy.”