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Religious Conservatives Caution Holcomb Over Support For Hate Crimes Bill

Gov. Eric Holcomb

Gov. Eric Holcomb pledged to work next session to ensure a hate crimes bill passes after vandals defaced a Carmel synagogue with anti-Semitic graffiti. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Religious conservative groups that oppose hate crimes laws in Indiana say Gov. Eric Holcomb’s support for the measure won’t matter.

One of those groups also has a warning for the Republican governor.

Hate crimes legislation has failed for years. But Holcomb pledged to work next session to ensure it passes after vandals defaced a Carmel synagogue with anti-Semitic graffiti.

American Family Association of Indiana Executive Director Micah Clark says Holcomb’s support won’t make a difference. Clark and AFA-IN have helped lead the charge against a hate crimes bill for years.

“Indiana already has the ability to enhance the sentences for any victim for any crimes and judges have had that ability for years. So what the governor is wading into is really symbolism over substance,” Clark says.

And Clark says Holcomb is increasingly out-of-step with most Hoosiers and what he calls their “traditional values.”

“I think he needs to be careful because he’s not as popular as some of his media clips tell him,” Clark says.

The nonpartisan Morning Consult poll recently suggested Holcomb was the most popular governor in the Midwest.

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