Indiana lawmakers become emotional over controversial hate crimes bill

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There were some intense, emotional and passionate words from lawmakers about this hate crimes bill.
Some lawmakers even cried as they spoke.

The heart of the issue is a controversial hate crimes bill, that was amended on Wednesday, which deleted the list of protected characteristics from the original bill.

The list included things like religion, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The new, amended bill, allows a judge to consider an enhanced sentence in a crime of bias.

Democrat JD Ford, Indiana’s first openly-gay State Senator said, “When you remove that list, you remove me.”

Democrat Ed Melton choked back tears talking about going through experiences that his children won’t have to.

State Senator Aaron Freeman, who presented the amendment, said he basically did it as a compromise, so the bill could survive to the House. He said he’s willing to compromise and work with House members.

Freeman said he understands where the other side comes from, but he hopes they can honestly understand his heart and soul, too.

Then, there’s Democrat State Sen. Jean Breaux. She cried while speaking in front of lawmakers a little while ago.

“You chose not to move Indiana forward. you chose not enlightenment, but you chose to remain in the dark and that truly saddens me. I know in my heart that Indiana, that Hoosiers will not accept darkness. That we do seek the light pf progressive change. I know that change my not happen today and it may not happen in this chamber, but I know that one day. Light will prevail and darkness will be left behind.”

“I understand your points you’re making that how it should be different. But I think we should be inclusive of everyone, I don’t think the list gets there. I can’t speak for everybody on this side that they think list gets here. They have their own. but for me, the list is not inclusive enough.”

Republican State Senator Michael Young choked back tears too, as he talked about how well lawmakers get along. He said he feels like current law protects you already.

In the end though, the amended bill was passed, and it now heads to the House.

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(This story was originally published on February 21, 2019)

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