This was originally published on Liberal America on March 1, 2017.
In Indiana, a bill to stiffen the penalties for hate crimes failed to pass the Senate. Republican state senator Susan Glick said this about it in a statement:
“This bill sought to give judges the ability to increase penalties for bias-motivated crimes.”
“… However, after discussions with my colleagues, it has become apparent that there is a difference of opinion on various potential amendments to the bill, making it difficult to find consensus on a path forward.”
Some Christian conservative groups objected to the bill because they thought it would politicize crimes.
The Indiana Family Institute said this about it:
“For example, if SB 439 were passed into law a 90-year-old grandmother who is assaulted because she is wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ shirt would get less justice than a 25-year-old man who is assaulted because he is perceived to be gay.”
This comes on the same day that the Indianapolis Jewish Center received a bomb threat. Luckily, no one was hurt.
This makes Indiana one of only five states that doesn’t have any hate crime laws.
At the federal level, hate crimes are defined as violence or other crimes against someone because of their race, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. They don’t aim to censor speech or thoughts, but it is wrong to victimize someone because of who they are.
Some states have hate crimes laws, but they don’t cover every category that the federal laws do. For instance, Alabama doesn’t have protection for hate crimes against the LGBT community. Ohio only has protection for crimes motivated by race, religion, or ethnicity.
California is the only state with hate crime protections for people of every race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability.
We need hate crime laws in every state for every group. Here is a video about hate crimes in Indiana: