Indiana needs to pass hate crime legislation that specifically names protected groups. Opponents argue that Indiana does not need a hate crime bill because there are already federal laws that prohibit hate crimes. This is true; however, federal law enforcement rarely intervenes on state-level hate crimes unless they attract national news or are horrific enough that federal intervention is necessary. Yes, crimes that would be classified as hate crimes are already illegal; however, adding harsher sentences would support marginalized individuals and send a message to the community that crimes motivated by bias are not tolerated and will be met with more severe consequences.
Recent political rhetoric has condoned the stereotyping of individuals who are “other,” basically individuals who are not cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied white men. Communities cannot allow marginalized groups to be targeted and must stand up for their protection. Ideally, we are all protected equally under the law, but in practice, that is not true. It is unfair to expect women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community to not fear for their safety in a society that is constantly trying to oppress them. In a historically conservative state, Indiana needs legislation that explicitly protects individuals of marginalized groups.
Teagan Wilson, Carmel