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Hate Crimes Bill Advocates Urge More Comprehensive Measure

Women4Change Indiana executive director rima shahid speaking at a podium

Women4Change Indiana executive director Rima Shahid says leaving sex and gender out of hate crimes legislation is particularly harmful. (Brandon Smith, IPB News)

Hate crimes legislation advocates say Gov. Eric Holcomb should veto a current bias crimes bill if lawmakers don’t make it more comprehensive.

Groups pushing for the law gathered at the Statehouse Monday.

The current hate crimes language includes a list of victim characteristics but leaves off sex, age, and gender identity. Women4Change Indiana executive director Rima Shahid says leaving out sex and gender is particularly harmful.

“As most crimes against women – including rape, sexual assault and domestic violence – are motivated by deeply-entrenched misogyny and should be considered a hate crime,” Shahid says.

READ MORE: Holcomb Insists Hate Crimes Debate Isn't Over

GOP legislative leaders argue their language is comprehensive and exceeds hate crimes laws in other states. Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) says he, then, doesn’t understand resistance to including sex, age, and gender identity.

“If your bill’s so great, what’s wrong with adding a couple words, right?” Alting says.

The Senate could send the hate crimes bill to the governor as early as this week.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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