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Washington State Hate Crimes Legislation Expected to be Signed

Legislation that will expand Washington state’s anti-discrimination laws to include protection on the basis of gender identity and expression has moved quickly between the state House and Senate. The bill passed by a 68 to 30 vote in the state House last week and by a 36 to 12 vote in the state Senate in March. Governor Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the bill into law, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The bill (see PDF) states that “a person is guilty of malicious harassment” if he or she causes physical injury, damage to property, or threatens physical injury or property damage on the basis of “perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap.”

The bill also states that “It is not a defense that the accused was mistaken that the victim was a member of a certain race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, or had a mental, physical, or sensory handicap.”

Sources:

Washington State Senate Bill 5952; Human Rights Campaign 4/10/09

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