INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday he supports a hate crimes proposal that doesn’t specifically list gender identity, age or gender as protected characteristics — after months of calling for an inclusive hate crimes proposal.
After endorsing a proposal the state House advanced earlier in the day, Holcomb for the first time finds himself on the other side of the hate crimes debate from prominent business, community and religious leaders in the Indiana Forward coalition, which expressly calls for gender identity protections.
“I support and appreciate the action taken by the House today,” Holcomb said in a statement. “This measure covers all forms of bias crimes and treats all people equally. Now, we need to make sure we get to the finish line and move Indiana off the list of states without a bias crimes law.”
With little advance notice to the public or stakeholders, the House voted to add hate crimes language to an unrelated bill Monday, which could shield the divisive topic from public testimony in that chamber.
The result was a proposal that would restore the idea of protected characteristics for crime victims but with a few big omissions – specifically gender identity, age and gender.
The amendment the proposal emerged in cuts down on the number of opportunities lawmakers have to vote to change hate crimes language and removes the opportunity for the public to testify on the House side.
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