Indiana House approves hate crimes bill with list of protected groups that excludes gender identity

Indiana Statehouse (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A hate crimes bill that includes a specific list of protected groups passed the Indiana House 57-39 on Tuesday.

However, the legislation remains under criticism by those who say the list in incomplete without listing age, gender or gender identity.

The new language was inserted into an unrelated bill on Monday, and called up for a voice vote without public debate.

Republicans, including Governor Eric Holcomb, call the bill a step forward for the state, while Democrats say it leaves out too many Hoosiers.

“It tells me that this is continuing, spiteful attacks on the transgender Hoosiers of our state, and it’s simply not necessary,” said State Sen. J.D. Ford, a Democrat.

“We need to cover everyone equally, and it needs to get us off the list,” State Sen. Aaron Freeman, a Republican. “I think this bill’s going to do both and I would encourage both sides to hopefully find some common ground and agree on that topic.”

The governor said Tuesday that he believes this bill will get Indiana off the list of states without a hate crimes law, but progressives disagree.

The bill now goes back to the Senate, where it could still be changed in a conference committee.

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