Michigan House approves hate crime legislation

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mich. (AP)
The definition of a hate crime in Michigan would be expanded through legislation approved by the state House.

The Democratic-led chamber approved the bills by 66-43 votes Wednesday mostly along party lines. The legislation now goes to the Republican-led Senate where a similar House-approved measure died last year.

The legislation would make penalties stiffer if crimes were motivated by a victim's sexual orientation, disability or status as a military veteran. It would add to Michigan's current law covering crimes sparked by gender, national origin, race and religion.

The American Family Association of Michigan is lobbying against including the sexual orientation provision. The group says it would give gays protections not provided to most other citizens.