Ohio State Rep Pushes for Hate Crime Bill
As northeast Ohio prepares for Gay Games 9 next summer, one politician is introducing a bill that would make targeting someone because of his or her sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability a hate crime.
State Representative for the Ohio House District 13 Nickie Antonio told FOX 8 Cleveland, "A hate crime really applies to a crime committed against someone who is sending a message to the rest of the people in that community that their kind, if you will, is not wanted."
Cleveland has been under scrutiny as the city readies for Gay Games 9, to be held Aug. 9 - 16. Antonio and her supporters believe it's important now more than ever for both residents and visitors to feel safe.
"I think it's especially important that we raise our consciousness this year, because in 2014, as many people are aware, the Gay Games are coming to Northeast Ohio, and we want to be an open, welcoming and safe place for people who are going to be coming from all over the world," Antonio said.
The latest hate crime occurred over Labor Day weekend, when Jared Fox, 26, was attacked as he walked to Cocktails, a popular gay bar on Cleveland's west side. Surveillance cameras recorded the incident and one juvenile was arrested and charged with assault and robbery.
Antonio hopes the bill will get bipartisan support and is still on the lookout for co-sponsors. Ohio is one of 14 remaining states yet to pass a law protecting LGBT citizens against hate crimes.