INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody released the following statement in response to State Senator Jim Merritt’s vote to approve Senate Bill 12 despite Republican efforts to strip hate crimes protections for those targeted due to their race, gender, and sexual orientation.
Despite broad consensus that a watered-down bill would do more harm than good, and amid protests from the business, academic, and legal communities, Senator Merritt proudly cast a vote today to move forward legislation opposed by the Indianapolis corporate and civic community.
“Today’s vote sent a strong message to Indianapolis voters: when push comes to shove, Jim Merritt would rather stand with the out-of-touch views of his conservative allies than work to ensure that Indy welcomes all. For nearly three decades, Senator Jim Merritt opposed and killed hate crimes legislation. And in 2015, Merritt linked arms with Governor Mike Pence and supported RFRA legislation – the same legislation that did significant damage to the state and to Indianapolis. Four years later, it’s clear Merritt is still more interested in being all things to all people, rather than fighting for equal protections for all Hoosiers. Senator Merritt is clumsily trying to serve three constituencies: his current Hamilton County constituents, the residents of Indianapolis, and the Senate Republican Caucus he heads up as Caucus Leader. And this week proved Merritt would rather vote with his caucus than his constituents.”