Letter: Amend SB 12 to original language

From: Bob Pitman and Lydi Davidson


Those of us promoting civil rights protections for all Hoosiers should not be surprised by the Indiana Senate’s recent failure to pass the Senate Bill 12 version of hate crime legislation for the sixth consecutive year, but the most recent episode surely sets a record for sheer hypocrisy and cruelty.

After a committee’s overwhelming vote of 9-1 to pass inclusive legislation that identified protected classes, including race, gender identity and sexual orientation, the Republican caucus delayed action by holding two private meetings.

The first caucus resulted in support for an amendment that would gut the bill by removing reference to specific protected classes. After that amendment passed with just a few brave members of the caucus standing against this travesty, Republicans convened a second caucus to concoct an absurd assertion that the amended version represented progress toward more comprehensive civil rights for our citizens.

Gov. Eric Holcomb made clear his disagreement and disappointment by stating that this action will not get Indiana off the list of just five states without a hate crime law.

It has become clear in recent years that Indiana’s failure to take an unambiguous comprehensive stand against hate is due primarily to the determination of some in the so-called religious right to deny LGBTQ citizens this fundamental protection.

It seems odd to us that people of faith would support discrimination toward their fellow law-abiding citizens.

There is still time for the legislature to rectify this continuing embarrassment for the Hoosier state, one that deprives us of the considerable talent who might otherwise consider moving here. But it will take a full court press of our state representatives, who would have the power to restore the original inclusive language to the legislation.

We urge immediate support in making this happen.