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Nevada Gov Primed to Sign Trans-Inclusive Hate Crime Bill

By Michelle Garcia

A bill is headed to Nevada governor Brian Sandoval's desk that would add crimes based on a person's gender identity and expression to the state's hate-crimes law after the state assembly passed the legislation 30-11 on Tuesday.

"This does not afford victims special rights," gay assemblyman Andrew Martin said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. "This is a statement of what our society is and that we will not tolerate the systematic targeting of individuals who are historically disadvantaged groups."

People who commit hate crimes would be subject to penalties for the actual crime committed, in addition to motivation based on their bias, according to the article.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen took issue with the context of the law, saying crimes should be punished based on the action, not the reason. He also said hate-crimes laws violate free speech and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"If I was passing out religious fliers and somebody attacked me, that would be considered a hate crime," Hansen said, according to the article. "But if I were passing out fliers protesting the war in Iraq and somebody attacked me, that would not be considered a hate crime even though the actions were identical."

Last month the Senate passed the bill, sponsored by lesbian state senator Pat Spearman, with all but one senator voting in favor. Sandoval is expected to sign the bill into law.

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