State Rep. Renews Push for Hate Crime Protection Laws after Gay Man Assaulted

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - One Arkansas Lawmaker is renewing his call for a statewide law against hate crimes. 

A Northwest Arkansas man says he was recently assaulted by several men because he is gay. 

The attackers are charged with disorderly conduct and because the state has no hate crime protections, they can't be charged with anything else unless the case goes to federal court. 

State Representative Greg Leding tried last year to add hate crime protection to Arkansas law, but couldn't get the support he needed. 

"It's a bad look for our state, especially when you consider in recent years Arkansas has been among the top states having the highest number of active hate groups per capita. That's not a good look when we're trying to get people to move here," says St. Rep. Greg Leding (D) Fayetteville)

Leding says opponents told him they feared a hate crime law would treat select groups of people with more importance. 

Arkansas is one of five states that does not have a hate crime law. 

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