Today, HRC reacted to the news that SB 198 has been passed through both legislative chambers in Indiana and is now headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk. The initially unrelated bill was amended late last week to include deeply flawed hate crimes language that excludes sex and gender identity, includes unconstitutionally vague language, and is non-mandatory in nature. This is not the fully-inclusive hate crimes bill the Governor initially called for, and HRC now calls on the governor to reject the bill in its current form.
“HRC will not support any proposal that is not fully-inclusive of the LGBTQ community and our allies, full stop,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign. “Unfortunately, SB 198 does not meet this criteria. Hate crimes laws must include both sexual orientation and gender identity alongside other protected characteristics in order to truly protect LGBTQ Hoosiers. All LGBTQ Hoosiers are deserving of protection, and leaders in Indiana must act to protect all of us from bias-based crimes. For that reason, we ask Gov. Eric Holcomb to reject this bill.”
In 2015, Indiana legislators passed a disastrous anti-LGBTQ law that caused massive economic and reputational fallout in the state. During that fight, large corporations and small business owners alike spoke up against the legislation, causing the legislature and former Gov. Mike Pence to attempt to stem the tide of opposition and financial loss. Major businesses – including Salesforce, Eli Lilly and Company, Alcoa, Cummins, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the NCAA, and more – played a lead role in negotiating the measure that limited the damage of the law.
This session, HRC has been working closely with our partners in the Indiana Forward coalition. Indiana Forward is made up by a number of allied member organizations, higher education professionals, and corporate partners like Anthem Inc, Cummins, and Eli Lilly and Company.