- This bill sets up different standards for victims of crimes. For example, if a man walking out of a gay bar is mugged this would constitute a more severe crime than a grandmother who is mugged while walking down the street.
- This bill represents an attempt to give special protection to homosexuals and cross dressers by stating that a crime against them is to be treated with more severity than a crime against a senior citizen, a child or a pregnant mother.
- This bill represents a step in the wrong direction with regard to free speech. Will the next step be to prohibit speech that someone views as hateful? For example, will legislation be introduced to prohibit pastors from speaking out against the homosexual lifestyle?
- All crimes involve hate and ill will toward their victim. All crimes, regardless who the victim is, need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Once again, as Miller did last year, he provides blatantly false information about HB 1076 to his followers to work them up in an anti-gay lather. Miller attempts to convey to his followers that the bill would allow different treatment of criminals who commit crimes against a gay person as opposed to a senior citizen, child or pregnant mother. In fact, current Indiana law already allows a criminal defendant to be punished more harshly when his or her victim is a senior citizen, a child or pregnant mother. Indiana's criminal statute provides a whole list of aggravating circumstances which support harsher sentences. This is nothing new.
The legislation does not in any way impede a person's freedom of speech or religion as Miller falsely suggests. A person's guilt is determined by an underlying crime, not the bias which motivated the crime in the first instance. The bias the criminal exhibited in choosing to target his or her victim may be considered by a judge, among other aggravating circumstances, as a reason for imposing a harsher sentence. And as always, while the legislation covers a number of possible bias motives, including race, religion, ethnicity and sex, among other, Miller only singles out a person's sexual orientation as a basis for opposing the legislation. Miller's bigotry for gay people once again raises its ugly head.
Last year, Miller and his religious right followers were successful in loading down the legislation with hostile amendments pertaining to abortion and other unrelated issues as a way of killing the bill before it could be voted on third reading in the House. Miller's alert this year urges members to vote no on HB 1076 "because we should not give special protection for homosexuals and cross-dressers." It is about time someone in the legislature stood up and called Miller out for spreading blatant lies to defeat this legislation as he does year after year. Registered lobbyists should be required to comply with a code of conduct, which would prohibit them from disseminating false information to citizens of this state in an effort to lobby members of the Indiana General Assembly to vote a certain way on pending legislation. Let's call it what it is: fraud.