Murder in Indiana: State of Neglect

H.Lukas Green and Jody May-Chang©
June 29, 2007

Indiana’s Christian Conservatives lobbied aggressively to kill HB 1459, a hate crimes bill. Indiana is one of four states without any kind of hate crime legislation.

Indiana’s religious conservatives mirrored the same tactics used successfully in other states; lie, fear monger, and label homosexuals as a threat.

Indiana Equality Blog (Equality and Justice for LGBT Hoosiers):

We have not had the support for Hate Crimes like they did last week in the US House of Representatives. Our Bias Crimes law was killed by Jackie Walorski who added a “viable fetus” to the list of victims protected by this bill. She knew full well that adding that language would cause a long debate on whether or not the law would cover abortions. Instead of debating the real need for this law, she took a cowards way out.

The need has been fully felt. Another man, Aaron Hall, has been killed in Seymore. The killers readily admitted that they did it because they thought he was gay. They beat him and dumped his living body in a ditch. They returned the next day and saw he tried to crawl for help before actually dying and then they hid his body. The murderers knew exactly what they were doing. Indiana will convict them but of lesser offenses because we have no hate crimes law. Hopefully, the law will come back up again next session.

Advance Indiana blog:

The hate crime beating of Dexter Lewis, a black male occurred on March 26. Just 15 days later the Indiana House of Representatives voted down hate crimes legislation sponsored by Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) by a 46-50 vote. The religious right, led by Advance America’s Eric Miller and Micah Clark’s American Family Association, bombarded legislators with homo-bigoted e-mails and telephone calls in an all-out effort to stop the legislation.

Laura McPhee of Nuvo

Laura McPhee of NUVO (Indy’s Alternative Voice) writes:

While Evangelical groups and conservative lawmakers from Indiana continue to defend their opposition to Hate Crimes Legislation, local and national human rights groups and bloggers are beginning to take notice.

And while much of this focus questions why Indiana continues to not enact Hate Crimes Legislation, others are also beginning to question why so few Indiana media outlets are reporting the beating of Dexter Lewis or the murder of Aaron Hall.

On June 6, Bloomington Alternative Editor Steven Higgs published an editorial asking why The Indianapolis Star has yet to cover Hall’s murder.

“The case should have been big news,” Higgs contends. “Yet The Star left the Hall murder to the Jackson County media, the never-to-be-trusted Indianapolis and Louisville television stations and bloggers”

The real message here is loud and clear in this largely white evangelical right state. If you are different from the people who hate, do not look for protection from law enforcement and the justice system if you are a victim of biased based violent crime in the Hoosier state.

The Truth About Hate Crimes Laws

From HRC Media / Runtime 4:52