SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –– Today, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 3930, the Enhanced Hate Crimes Law, which further protects LGBT Illinoisans, and includes the explicit mention of crimes against transgender people for the first time.
It was the first pro-LGBT legislation to reach the Republican governor’s desk, and championed by the bill’s sponsors – out state Representatives Sam Yingling (D – Lake County) and Kelly Cassidy (D – Chicago), and by state Sen. Daniel Bliss (D – Evanston).
“We are excited this important bill will now become law and explicitly cover the full LGBT community under the Illinois hate crimes statute,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois, in a statement.
The existing hate crimes law, signed in 1990 by Gov. James Thompson, included sexual orientation as a protected category, which had been interpreted to include gender identity. The new law, authored by Equality Illinois, specifically names gender identity as a protected category in the state’s hate crimes statutes. The Anti-Defamation League partnered with Equality Illinois to advocate for the measure.
The new law also extends hate crimes protections to community centers that may be targeted for institutional vandalism because of sexual orientation or gender identity status. HB 3930 unanimously passed the Illinois House and Senate. Cherkasov noted that the legislative leaders from both parties were instrumental in helping secure bipartisan votes for the measure, which goes into effect on January 1, 2016.
“We hope that Gov. Rauner’s approval of HB 3930 is a harbinger of his favorable consideration of other priorities for LGBT Illinoisans, especially HB 217, which protects LGBT youths from dangerous conversion therapy, and HB 3552, which requires funeral directors to honor the gender identity instructions left by the deceased,” Cherkasov said.