The Daily Evergreen (Washington State University), WA, USA
The law would make it a felony to injure or threaten people because of their sexual identity.
The Daily Evergreen
Transgendered people will receive hate crime protection under a new bill passed by the state Legislature on Wednesday.
The state’s hate crime law makes it felony to “threaten, damage the property of, or physically injure someone because of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.” The new bill would add “gender expression or identity” to the definition.
GIESORC Director Heidi Stanton said the announcement continued a great week for the GLBTQ community across the country.
On Friday, same-sex marriage was legalized in Iowa after a unanimous court decision by the state Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Vermont state Legislature legalized same-sex marriage, the first time it has been legalized by a non-judicial decision.
“It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “Good things are happening all around.”
ASWSU Director of Legislative Affairs Shawn Hoey said Gov. Chris Gregoire has publicly stated in the past that would she would sign the bill.
“It looks like a done deal,” Hoey said.
If Gregoire signs the bill, it will go into effect three months after the legislative session ends.
The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 68-30, with six Republicans joining all House Democrats in favor of the bill. A similar bill passed in the Senate 36-12 on March 13.
Three cases of alleged hate crimes against transgendered students occurred in Pullman in October.
On October 15, Kristopher Shultz, a junior women’s studies major, was walking past the Scott-Coman Soccer Fields when someone shouted hate speech and knocked Schultz unconscious.
On October 18, another transgendered student was attacked outside of Munchy’z by three men wearing masks resembling those from the movie “Scream.” The student was transported to the Pullman Regional Hospital, where he was treated with a collapsed lung, though the injury was not life-threatening.
On October 20, Jackson Hogan, a junior French and Spanish major, was punched to the ground and kicked in the CUE parking lot by a man who recognized him at event sponsored by the GLBTQ community.
Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said no suspects have been found in any of the three cases.
GLBTA President Nikki Hahn said she was grateful for the Legislature’s approval of the bill.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction – fingers crossed that Gregoire will sign it,” she said. “It gives me more hope.”
Stanton said gender identity and expression is protected in WSU’s Business Policies and Procedures Manual and the Student Conduct Code. She said the policies to protect ransgendered people are in place, but that more education training and outreach are necessary.
“I think we’re moving the right direction, but there’s still definitely a lot to be done,” she said.
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August 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm
I am so happy that such legislation is happening in our state. I love Washington and want to see it known as a mecca of tolerance. We have alot of good people here.