INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is one of only five states without a hate crimes law. Legislation unanimously approved Tuesday by a Senate committee would change that.
LaGrange Republican Sen. Sue Glick’s bill would allow judges to inflict harsher penalties based on a person’s motivation for committing a crime – specifically, if they committed a crime with the intent to harm or intimidate someone based on that person’s race, religion, color, national origin, sex, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, or transgender status. Her original proposal would’ve created a new crime entirely, but she says her legislation creating just a penalty enhancement still sends a strong message.
“Sends a message to those individuals that we will not tolerate it in our society,” Glick said.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says recent examples prove the need for such a law. He cites an Indiana University student’s attack on a Muslim woman, a burning cross on an African-American family’s lawn, and an attack on a man because he’s gay.
“Bias motivated crimes clearly affect more than a victim in any given case, but instead can create fear throughout an entire community,” Curry said.
The bill now heads to the Senate floor.