The Republican author of an Indiana House hate crimes bill says his motivation for pushing the legislation, in part, comes from his belief in religious freedom and memories of how AIDS victim Ryan White was treated back in the late 1980s.
State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) has offered hate crimes legislation which enhances the sentence for certain crimes if it is determined that the crime was motivated by a bias against the victim’s characteristics such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Cook tells Indy Politics that part of his motivation for the hate crimes bill came from his experiences during the RFRA debate of a few years ago, as well as the treatment of AIDS victim Ryan White, an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States after failing to be re-admitted to school following a diagnosis of AIDS.
Cook spoke to Indy Politics shortly after a rally last week at the Statehouse.
His comments in the Leon-Tailored Audio podcast run about nine minutes.