SB 0253, the companion bill to HB 0335, is up for consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. As we have noted many times, the bill would add gender identity and expression as sentencing enhancement factors to our state's hate crimes statute.
The bearing false witness campaign against the bill continues. Despite what opponents are saying, the bill does not restrict speech, thought, or religion. The current hate crimes law already includes sexual orientation and not one church or pastor has been prosecuted under it for preaching against the GLBT community. So how is it that adding another sentencing enhancement factor is going to lead to problems for churches? It won't. The whole campaign is a lie designed to cover the real opposition to the bill, which stems from the belief that some people shouldn't be protected. I'm not lumping in that group some libertarians who simply believe that such laws are not needed. But they don't go around making up lies about the bill. So that's another matter entirely.
If you would like to contact the Senate Judiciary Committee about the bill, you can do so here.