Earlier this week, the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee reinstated protections for LGBTQ South Carolinians in H.3620 (now called the Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crime Act). We are relieved that these protections have been re-added to the bill, and will work hard to advocate for their continued inclusion moving forward.
The Judiciary Committee also, however, decided to remove portions of H.3620 protecting targeted citizens from harassment, stalking, property destruction, and vandalism. According to the FBI, harassment, stalking, simple battery, vandalism and other non-violent offenses account for more than 75% of all documented hate crimes. Swastikas painted on synagogues, racial slurs painted on Black churches, simple assaults on minorities, the desecration of Jewish gravestones, and other pernicious crimes would not be covered if H.3620 passes without these protections. We urge legislators to restore language to ensure these crimes are included in this bill.
We truly appreciate the continued passion and efforts of the SC Representatives who authored and co-sponsored this bill, all of you who contacted the Judiciary Committee in support of LGBTQ protections, and those who gave testimony in the subcommittee hearings leading us to this point. As the bill moves to the floor, we encourage you to continue to contact your representatives to advocate for a comprehensive hate crime law.
Our coalition will continue to fight, as a diverse array of community organizations and faith communities, to Stamp Out Hate in South Carolina.
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