INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a hate crimes bill on Wednesday that doesn’t include gender, gender identity or age.
The bill that he signed, Senate Enrolled Act 198, does not directly include a list of protected classes as Holcomb originally pressed for, but it does point to another list already in a different section of Indiana code that includes color, creed, disability, national origin, religion and sexual orientation. Critics protested using a list that doesn’t include age, gender or gender identity, saying it leaves those groups unprotected.
Holcomb and state lawmakers say those groups are still protected because the bill includes language saying that list is not exclusive and judges can consider other forms of bias. A former Indiana Supreme Court justice appointed by a Democratic governor agrees with them.
Gov. Holcomb issued a statement shortly after the signing at 3 p.m. saying, in full, “Our goal was to achieve a comprehensive law that protects those who are the targets of bias crimes, and we have accomplished just that. We have made progress and taken a strong stand against targeted violence. I am confident our judges will increase punishment for those who commit crimes motivated by bias under this law.”