Indiana’s new hate crime law isn’t recognized by all

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana is off the list of states without a hate crime law, if you ask the United States Department of Justice. However, Indiana is listed as 'unprotected' on the Anti-defamation League's (ADL) website. 

Governor Eric Holcomb pushed to pass a law that would enhance the sentence for anyone who commits a hate crime.

The legislation lists groups of people but does not mention gender identity, gender, and sex.

That’s why ADL lists Indiana as “not protected” on its Hate Crime Laws Map.

“Indiana remains on ADL’s list of states without a hate crimes law," said ADL Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg. "SEA 198’s deliberate failure to explicitly list gender identity, gender, and sex is unacceptable and because of its uniquely and problematically broad language, using undefined terms such as “belief,” “practice,” and “association,” we do not even consider it a hate crimes law.”

Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan said those categories are still protected under this law.

“You are subject to getting every bit severe of a sentence, every bit as much time as if your target was in a category in the bill,” said Sullivan.

Governor Holcomb released this statement about the new law going into effect today:

I was pleased to see that the Department of Justice has updated its chart regarding hate crimes laws to reflect that Indiana is on the list of states that have a hate crimes law. Our new law will allow judges to enhance sentences based on listed and non-listed categories. Criminals who attempt to instill fear by attacking others based, for example, on who someone loves, who they are, how they identify, how they pray, should know their sentences can, and I believe should, be enhanced to the fullest extent of the law. This isn’t about hateful thinking. This is about committing a crime. Indiana is sending a message that if you’re targeted and a crime is committed against you – that will be taken into account, and our federal partners at the Department of Justice have noticed.

Katie Blair, the Director of Advocacy & Public Policy for ACLU of Indiana, said transgender people should have been listed in the state’s new hate crime law, but they weren’t.

“Which is unfortunate, because we know that transgender people are most effected by violence in our communities,” said Blair.

In June alone, she said six transgender women of color were murdered in the United States this year.

Blair said the fact transgender people were not included in this legislation proves how much more education needs to be done.

“Transgender Hoosiers are still Hoosiers, just like them,” said Blair.

She said  the FBI has reported a 10-percent increase in violence against the transgender community.

ADL is keeping Indiana on the list of states without a hate crime law along with Wyoming, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina.

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