The Need for a Hate Crimes Bill by Laura Stancato

   It’s the 21st century. You would think everyone would agree to a law that protected individuals from heinous crimes motivated by religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, etc. Wrong! Or at least, not in Indiana. Last year, Indiana Senate Republicans pulled a hate crimes bill and made Indiana one of the only five states without some sort of statute against hate crimes. Think about that number. Out of 50 states, only five refuse to enact a law that would punish perpetrators of hate crimes more severely. Indiana is one of those five. That needs to change.

Hoosiers are not hate-filled, cruel individuals that support discrimination of any kind. We, as a population, are becoming more and more open-minded and supportive of others, regardless of what they look like or who they love. So what’s the holdup? Why do our lawmakers refuse to honor the wishes of the 65% of Hoosiers that support a hate crimes bill? (Indy Star 2018).

Just today, a synagogue in Carmel was brutally vandalized with images of spray painted Nazi propaganda. This Anti-Semitic act only furthers the need for a hate crimes bill that would treat these criminals with a harsher, more deserving punishment. Instead, lawmakers sit idly by and refuse to tackle the serious issue that acts of hatred has become in Indiana.

We need to band together as Hoosiers and prove that hatred is not part of our society or culture. We need to denounce any and all acts of hatred. Hate crimes are happening more often than you may think. They don’t have to make national news and they don’t have to be over-the-top. Any crime motivated by prejudice or discrimination classifies as a hate crime that has become all too normal in our society.

This November, it is imperative that we elect individuals who prioritize the passing of a hate crimes bill. We need more lawmakers that emphasize the protection of their constituents, and put equality as a priority.

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