Sexuality, gender not covered by hate crime laws in Alabama, 13 other states

Alabama News

Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A report released Wednesday by the Movement Advancement Project shines a light on the inconsistency of hate crime laws throughout the nation.

Alabama is listed as one of 13 states in which “existing hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Other states in the category include Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and North and South Dakota.

When it comes to the strength and severity of consequences for breaking hate crime laws, however, Alabama ranks among states with some of the most punitive hate crime laws.

While 35 states do not currently allow for collateral consequences if one is convicted of a hate crime, Alabama, along with only ten other states, permits such collateral consequences.

Alabama does fall in the majority in some categories defined by the report, though: 34 states, two territories, and D.C. do not allow for community service or anti-bias education as part of sentencing for hate crimes.

The state is also part of a majority of 37 states, two territories, and D.C. in which hate crime laws exist with no victim protection statutes.

In 27 states, including Alabama, two territories, and D.C., hate crime laws do not require hate crime training for law enforcement. Consequently, the report’s recommendations include increased and mandated training for law enforcement in all states.

“This (statistic) highlights the urgent need for law enforcement to engage in dedicated and sustained efforts to improve their relationships to the communities they serve, and to take meaningful steps toward being accountable for—and repairing—past harms,” the report details.

The report details that the primary action, however, should “be reducing the vulnerability of and investing in communities that are commonly the subjects of hate violence, such as people of color, LGBTQ people, people of minority faiths, and people with disabilities.”

The Movement Advancement Project, according to their website, is “an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight, and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.”

To read the full report, click here.

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