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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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House approves addition of gender identity to hate crimes law
STATE HOUSE – The House voted today to include gender identity and expression in the definition of hate crimes tracked by state law.
“People who may identify as a gender other than their biological gender at birth are very frequently the victims of violence. That’s a hate crime just as much as when people are abused for their race or sexual orientation. If we’re going to track hate crimes in our state, we need to count hate crimes that are perpetrated based on a person’s gender identity,” said the bill’s sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 3, Providence).
Currently, state law defines hate crimes “as any crime motivated by bigotry and bias, including, but not limited to threatened, attempted, or completed acts that appear after investigation to have been motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation or disability prejudice or motivated by prejudice against a person who is homeless or is perceived to be homeless.” The legislation
would add “gender identity or expression” to that list, so that crimes motivated by bias toward a victim’s gender identity or expression would be included in that count. The legislation does not seek to enhance penalties.
The legislation will now be transmitted to the Senate. The bill passed the House last year as well, but did not pass the Senate.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request