New Hate Crime Law in Indiana not all-inclusive

As originally reported by Kate O’Rourke: 14 News, April 26, 2019

Indiana has a new Hate Crime Law. Governor Eric Holcomb and state lawmakers say the all-inclusive law covers every form of hate.

But civil rights activists think otherwise. They say our civil rights are still at risk and are already making plans to take action.

State lawmakers say Indiana’s new Hate Crime Law covers every form of hate with a person’s color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation all clearly protected. But some factors are not quite so clear: sex, gender, gender identity, and age.

Still, Governor Holcomb and other Republicans argue it covers every Hoosier because it covers all characteristics and traits, whether expressly listed or not. Civil rights leaders disagree.

“Everyone needs to be protected under a bill, not trying to dig in and figure out what applies here,” says Reverand Gerald Arnold. “That we have a comprehensive bill that just identifies and says this is a hate crime and that’s it.”

In a news release, House Speaker Brian Bosma calls this “the most comprehensive and inclusive bias crimes statute in the nation.”

Still, like the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League say, Indiana still falls short when it comes to civil rights, even with this law on the books.

“We are still one of five states that do not have a hate crime bill regardless of what the Governor signed,” says Arnold. “It’s not all-inclusive. And so we are going to continue to do direct actions, whatever it takes to voice our dissatisfaction and demand that when the time comes that we can get this bill changed where it will become inclusive.”

Arnold tells us Indiana NAACP leaders are meeting in Indianapolis Saturday to figure out where to go from here. They already have statewide rallies planned for Saturday, May 18.

If you would like to get involved, Arnold says you can give him a call. His number is (812) 573-1169.