New Hate Crimes Protections Become Law

Equality Illinois Press Release
 

Equality Illinois Applauds Enhanced Hate Crimes Protections
First Pro-LGBT Bill to Reach His Desk

CHICAGO (July 20, 2015) – Enhanced hate crime protections for LGBT Illinoisans, including the first explicit inclusion of crimes against transgender people, are now law under a bill signed today by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Equality Illinois applauds Gov. Rauner for approving the measure, which also provides hate crime protections for LGBT community centers.

“We are excited this important bill will now become law and explicitly cover the full LGBT community under the Illinois hate crimes statute,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.

“We thank Gov. Rauner for signing House Bill 3930, the first piece of pro-LGBT legislation to cross his desk. We also thank state Rep. Sam Yingling, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and state Sen. Daniel Biss for their sponsorship and dedicated leadership on this legislation,” Cherkasov said.

The existing hate crimes law, signed in 1990 by Gov. James Thompson, included sexual orientation as a protected category, which had been interpreted to include gender identity. The new law, authored by Equality Illinois and one of our priorities during the spring legislative session, specifically names gender identity as a protected category in the state’s hate crimes statutes. The Anti-Defamation League partnered with Equality Illinois to advocate for the measure.

The new law also extends hate crimes protections to community centers that may be targeted for institutional vandalism because of sexual orientation or gender identity status. HB 3930 unanimously passed the Illinois House and Senate. Cherkasov noted that the legislative leaders from both parties were instrumental in helping secure bipartisan votes for the measure, which goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

“We hope that Gov. Rauner’s approval of HB 3930 is a harbinger of his favorable consideration of other priorities for LGBT Illinoisans, especially HB 217, which protects LGBT youths from dangerous conversion therapy, and HB 3552, which requires funeral directors to honor the gender identity instructions left by the deceased,” Cherkasov said.

Equality Illinois also continues its advocacy for a fully-funded and fair state budget plan that ensures adequate revenue and provides funding for critical services for the most vulnerable Illinoisans, including homeless youth and individuals living with HIV and AIDS.