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Politics

Lawmakers and prosecutor want to add sexual identity to hate crimes definition

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A teen was recently attacked in Muskegon County. Officials say it’s because he’s gay. Now prosecutors and lawmakers are calling on the legislature to expand the state’s hate crimes law.

A 17-year old boy was stripped of his clothes and assaulted. The evidence was clear to Muskegon County prosecutor D.J. Hilson – The teen was attacked because he was gay. But when he looked at the statute, he couldn’t charge the case as hate crime, which comes with increased penalties.

Hilson says it’s time for the Legislature to protect all citizens.

“We’re talking about real people, real victims, who need this protection.”

Hilson says he supports a bill in the legislature to expand the state’s hate crime law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. That bill is still waiting for a committee hearing.