Amend the PA Hate Crimes Law

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In Pennsylvania, hate crimes are termed ethnic intimidation. According to Pennsylvania Criminal Code Title 18, Section 2710, "A person commits the offense of ethnic intimidation if, with malicious intention toward the race, color, religion or national origin of another individual or group of individuals, he commits an offense under any other provision of this article or under Chapter 33 (relating to arson, criminal mischief and other property destruction) exclusive of section 3307 (relating to institutional vandalism) or under section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) with respect to such individual or his or her property or with respect to one or more members of such group or to their property."

In 2002, an amendment to the code included ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Unfortunately, the law was challenged in 2007, and found that the 2002 amendment was unconstitutional on a technicality. We seek to restore the amendment.

We ask the Pennsylvania House and Senate to pass a comprehensive amendment to the Pennsylvania Ethnic Intimidation law to include ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. While the current Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission does accept complaints about discrimination, they do not handle ethnic intimidation cases or hate crimes. For details, click here.