MERRILLVILLE — Talk about strange bedfellows. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb are in lockstep on a bias crime bill.

The Democratic legislators have joined Holcomb in his quest to have the Indiana House restore a list of protected classes to a bias crime bill. Such a bill would give victims substantially more standing in court.

The bill would protect all Hoosiers regardless of race, religion, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, age or sexual orientation.

Those classes were in the bill until a private meeting of Republican senators took them out and made the legislation rather generic.

Let there be no doubt that what the senators wanted out of the bill was the term “sexual orientation.” It all brings me back to when Mike Pence was governor of Indiana and desperately fought the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community.

He even went on television and embarrassed himself while trying to appear unbiased.

It’s no wonder Pence ended up being a pawn for Donald Trump who is one of the most prejudiced presidents in the history of the country.

If legislators ignore the governor and the black Democrats and pass a meaningless bias crime bill, Indiana will remain one of five states in the nation without a bias crime statute.

We can be thankful Holcomb is governor or Indiana wouldn’t have a chance to join the 45 other states who care enough about their residents to have adopted a bias crime bill that means something.

Holcomb continues to amaze Democrats who often see him as one of their own on key issues. 

Rich James has been writing about politics and government for 40 years. He is retired from the Post-Tribune, a newspaper born in Gary.