“All crimes are tragic—for the victim and the victim’s family. Crimes motivated by hate, whether it be prejudiced hate for a person’s religion, race, sexual orientation, color or creed, are tragic for the community,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy’s hate crimes legislation would be based on the “penalty enhancement” model. Wisconsin’s Hate Crimes statute is a penalty enhancement model and was unanimously upheld by the United States Supreme Court as constitutional. Penalty enhancement refrains from criminalizing hate speech, but creates a stiffer sentence for crimes motivated by hate. Additionally Kennedy’s proposal will include an intentional vandalism clause. Intentional vandalism targets vandalism aimed at houses of worship, cemeteries, schools and community centers.
“Too much of American history has been dominated by hate, but time and again it is overcome by the brave few. This legislation is another important step for our community, the result is that hate mongers cannot hide in the law,” Kennedy added.
Last year Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (R) told the Indiana Lawyer he would push for a hate crimes bill this year. He later dropped those efforts without explanation. AI later learned that Brizzi dropped the push after GOP legislators discouraged him from pushing what might be perceived as a "pro gay" bill during an election year. Sadly, Indiana Equality did not have a legislative agenda this year that included a hate crimes bill either. Indiana is just one of 4 states in the country without a hate crimes law.