BACKGROUND & CURRENT STATUS
Hate Crimes legislation passed in Georgia in 2000, however, the language did not include categories, therefore, the new law was challenged in court. It was overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004 - the definition of a hate crime was determined to be "too vague." Hate Crimes legislation has been introduced every year since 2004, and every year it has included categories including sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislation has failed to pass despite having broad support including GBI Director Vernon Keenan, and several religious organizations, and national and international police organizations.
Why does Georgia still need a hate crimes law since the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act?
- The new federal law does not apply to state criminal charges, only felonies. Therefore, a majority of hate crimes cannot be prosecuted under the federal law
- State law could require statistics tracking. Statistics provide critical information to prevent and combat hate crimes. The 2009 federal hate crimes law does not require local law enforcement agencies to track and report statistics
- Additional state resources would be provided to local law enforcement agencies for officer training, statistics tracking, and investigating hate crimes
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Talk to your state lawmaker by setting up an “in-district” visit. By using the talking points below and sharing your personal stories, you can make a huge difference in the lives of LGBT Georgians
- Email or call your state lawmaker and urge him or her to support hate crimes legislation
- Stay informed by joining our Action Email List
- Join Georgia Equality. Our work is not possible without the financial support of people like you who care about the safety of all Georgians