For the first time, Indiana's governor is stating out loud their support for LGBT protection, support for legislation that would give judges power to impose tougher sentences on convicted persons for crimes motivated by factors such as race, religion, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. But hat is the big issue with this proposal? It is whether protections should be extended to the transgender community.
The biggest push for this law to include the entire LGBT/Queer community is from businesses. Tourism leaders and many businesses are making their cases for hate crimes language to provide protections for gender identity. Indy Chamber, Visit Indy, Eli Lilly, the Pacers, and other groups and businesses are speaking up and signing letters emphasizing what they want to see the legislature produce.
One of the roadblocks may be House Speaker, Brian Bosma, who has gone on record to state that gender identity should cannot be a part of the protected classes if there is any hope for the crime law to pass since social conservatives at the Statehouse won’t negotiate or vote for the measure if gender identity is a part of any proposal.
A debate over bias crimes legislation like this could further highlight the fractures in the Indiana Republican party since he Governor is supporting including all in this new bill and protection.
Gov. Eric Holcomb has stated on record that he believes the state’s hate crime language needs to include all LGBT community members, just as the executive branch’s employment policy does.
The new legislative session commences on Jan. 3.
Will all eyes be on the very republican Indiana? Bosma recently ridiculed the new protection policy proponents to not bring "undue attention to our state" over specifics in the hate crime bill.
Indiana is one of just five states without a hate crimes law.