Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hate Crimes Bill Advances

Hate crimes legislation sponsored by Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) and pushed by Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (R) passed its first hurdle in the legislative processes, winning approval in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee by a 9-1 vote. HB 1459 must receive approval of the full House before it is sent to the Senate for similar action. Indiana is one of only five states in the country without some form of hate crimes law, which provides enhanced sentencing for offenders who commit crimes because of a bias the person has towards the victim, such as the person's race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

Only Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) voted against the measure. Koch, an Eric Miller cheerleader in the House, championed a bill last year authored by Sen. Brent Steele (R), also of Bedford, which created a new felony disorderly conduct crime for protesting within 500 feet of a funeral. That law targets religious zealots who appear at military funerals to protest what they claim is America's support of homosexuality, claiming our soldiers are being killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for that reason. It will be interesting to hear the argument folks like Koch forward for voting against HB 1459 when they supported the creation of the special criminal offense for funeral protestors where the victims were the families of deceased veterans. The real reason guys like Koch oppose hate crime laws because they believe they create a "protected status" for a person based on their sexual orientation, among other things--a concept they do not want to see written into Indiana law. The truth is the law treats everyone equally, but that's not want folks like Koch want to see happen.

Speaking of Koch, he was busy today advancing his bill making it a misdemeanor to have sex with an animal and a felony if the animal "suffers extreme pain or death" at the same time he was opposing a much-needed hate crimes law. "I think our constituents would be surprised to learn that bestiality is not a crime in state code," said Koch. The AP reports, "A House committee on Wednesday unanimously approved the bill, which was introduced after a man was charged with stealing a chicken and killing the animal while having sex with it in northwest Indiana." Hey, what can you say, this is Indiana. On a side note, many states used to have what they called crimes against nature, which embodied a whole host of no-noes, including masturbation, sodomy, adultery, fornication and, yes, bestiality. Most states have removed these archaic laws from the books because of court decisions striking them down on constitutional grounds. The religious right has made a sport out of using a vote to repeal these laws in a number of state legislative races across the country in past years with some success.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gary,

I like this blog, but I'm tired of the sychopantic attention you direct at Carl Brizzi.

I haven't seen him actively push hate crimes legislation, and I remember him caving over it in the past.

We'll see what his "work" does in the Indiana Senate...

Advance Indiana said...

Excuse me, anon 6:48, but you obviously didn't read the news story I linked to. Brizzi testified to the committee in support of the legislation. I don't know what you base your view of Brizzi on, but it not based in fact I can assure you.

Anonymous said...

The first attack is harsh, Gary, but...

I've talked to five or six House members (both parties) about the Amendment, and casually asked about the hate crimes bill, too.

None had heard from Brizzi, in any form of communication.

I'm glad he favors this bill, but, it appears he's returned to the Old Brizzi, which is...show up when the cameras are there.

I hope I'm wrong.

If the bill makes it out of the House, and over to the Senate, I'd be grateful if Carl could just get hateful senators like Patricia Miller and Young to open up to the bill.

Hey, a guy can hope, can't he?

Anonymous said...

I've met Eric Koch. That boy ain't right. He's got some serious issues.

Bil Browning said...

Did Brizzi ever find a Republican co-sponsor for the legislation?

Advance Indiana said...

As you saw from yesterday's vote, there were several Republicans on the committee who voted for the measure. I'm not aware of any Republican co-sponsor. I personally asked Elrod to sponsor it at the beginning of session. While told me he would support it, he was concerned the bill would go nowhere with his name on it because he is the Democrat's number one target as a freshman member who won by only 8 votes.

Advance Indiana said...

I should have added Elrod was one of the Republicans voting for HB 1459 in committee yesterday.

Advance Indiana said...

I'm told that there is an old Indiana case where a man was convicted under a former Indiana statute for having sex with a chicken. The statute in question made it a crime to commit a crime against nature by having sex with another man or beast. The man's defense was that he had sex with a fowl and not a beast. The court rejected his argument. Presumably, Indiana dumped this archaic statute around the same time it dumped its sodomy statute. If someone knows the facts surrounding that old statute's repeal, please feel free to share them.

Wilson46201 said...

Indiana joined many other states and adopted the Uniform Model Criminal Code back in the 1970s - it decriminalized sodomy (YAY!!!) - it probably wiped off the bestiality laws at the same time too.

A funny side story: shortly after Senator Julia Carson became Trustee, a male/female couple was caught in a basement storeroom doing oral sex. Julia was aghast. I jokingly reminded her that she had voted to decriminalize such behavior when in the Legislature. She was not amused. Both employees were reprimanded but not fired...