New Bill To Battle Hate Crime In Ohio
A bill to battle hatred will soon be introduced in the statehouse.
The law states that someone found guilty of "ethnic intimidation" -- or a hate crime -- can face a harsher punishment.
As it stands now, the groups protected by Ohio's "ethnic intimidation" law include people targeted because of their race, color, religion or national origin.
Now, that list of people protected may be growing.
10TV spoke with Columbus resident Chris Kratavil in June, when he said he was attacked late at night, after someone watched him with his ex-boyfriend.
“I gave him a hug, gave him a kiss and he was watching. I just nodded my head hello and he coldcocked me on the head and dragged me down some cement steps,” said Kratavil.
All, he says, because he's gay.
Most of his wounds are now gone, but he says his anger toward his aggressors is not.
“Committing a crime, just because who they are, it's a whole different level of violence. It's just unacceptable. So, it's very hateful and should be stopped,” said Kratavil.
An Ohio lawmaker is trying to do just that.
State Rep. Nickie Antonio wants to expand the definition of a hate crime to include those targeted because of gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.
“Just like an act of hate is a message of intimidation to folks, we hope that a message of the law recognizing a hate crime is also a deterrent,” said Antonio.
In the past, bills similar to this latest one have been introduced at the Statehouse, but have not become law.
Experts on the history of the issue say some opponents believe no group should be singled out, while other opponents believe these groups mentioned in this bill do not need extra protection under the law.
“I think that it's completely unfair. I think that sexuality shouldn't have anything to do with putting borders around hate crimes,” said Columbus resident Amanda Carter.
Carter told 10TV she knew of Kratavil's encounter with evil, and says she hopes a new law will protect her, and others, from predators.
10TV News reached out to those who have opposed the issue in the past, but no one issued a comment.
Antonio expects to introduce the bill later this week