Pastors Challenge Federal Hate Crimes Law in Court
By Ryan J. Reilly | February 3, 2010 3:46 pm

Gay rights marchers rest at the National Equality March in October (file photo by Ryan J. Reilly).

Three pastors and the head of a family association have filed suit challenging provisions of the Hate Crimes law passed by Congress last year and signed by President Barack Obama. Those provisions, which protect people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered from crimes motivated by bias against them, violates the religious leaders’ constitutional rights to speak out against what they say is immoral sexual conduct, the plaintiffs claim.

The lawsuit, listing Attorney General Eric Holder as the defendant, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by lawyers from the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Pastor Levon Yuille, Pastor Rene Ouellette, Pastor James Combs, and Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan. It is the first constitutional challenge to the new hate crimes law’s provisions.

Lawyers for the religious leaders say that if they don’t prevail, they plan to appeal the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. A Justice Department spokesman told Main Justice that the government would “defend these vital protections in court.”

“The new federal hate crimes law protects Americans from perpetrators who turn prejudice into acts of violence,” said Alejandro Miyar. “Hate crimes seek to deny the humanity that we all share by victimizing whole communities.”

In their filing, the four conservatives say that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act “elevates those engaged in certain deviant behaviors into a special, protected class of people under federal law.”

Citing George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and Bible passages and making frequent references to the “homosexual agenda,” the lawsuit says that Yuille, a black radio host, takes offense to equating gay rights with the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans.

The suit says that Holder “encourages, endorses, promotes and supports the homosexual agenda in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States.”

At a meeting with reporters in December, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez said that his office was working to educate U.S. Attorneys about the protections included in the new hate crimes law. That law added additional classes of people who are protected from hate-based crimes. An earlier hate crimes law covered crimes against persons based on their race, color, religion, national origin or ethnicity.

A lawyer working on the Michigan lawsuit, Robert Muise, told Main Justice that he believed the hate crimes law would have a “chilling and inhibitory effect on the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” He said the law will be used to silence the debate on homosexuality by equating it with race in the eyes of the law.

Because he was not aware of any lawsuits using the new protections that have been filed by the government, Muise said the case is a pre-enforcement challenge. “One of the hurdles we’re going to have is showing standing, and cases where you’re alleging that there is a violation of your right to freedom of speech, the rules for standing are relaxed. Obviously we want to ensure we have laws that don’t have a chilling effect on speech.”

Asked about the comparison between protecting religious beliefs and gender identity, both of which Muise believes are a choice, he said that was like comparing apples and oranges.

“I have no evidence that hate crimes [laws protecting] somebody because of their religion has been used to squelch speech, protected speech, of individuals like hate crimes that provide as protected classes sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Muise. “I don’t see the threat like I see in other jurisdictions.”

“I don’t think you can equate the two things,” said Muise. “When you’re dealing with sexual orientation, what you’re really dealing with is deviant sexual behavior which is contrary to moral law, and I don’t equate that with somebody preaching the bible.”

The lawsuit claims that “plaintiffs are targets for government scrutiny, questioning, investigation, surveillance, and other adverse law enforcement actions and thus seek judicial reassurance that they can freely participate in their speech and related religious activities without being investigated or prosecuted by the government or becoming part of official records because of their Christian beliefs.”

The lawsuit is embedded below.

Complaint Hate Crimes 2010

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5 Comments

  1. Katie Murphy - ex cath says:

    The pederasts – well the Bishops report by an outside panel – its taken a decade or two for the church to go outside, said that gay priests – at least half of the priesthood is gay, were no more guilty then str8 priests re sexual abuse of the children placed in their care.

    Of course the church blamed gays. Anything to escape guilt for another of their horrible crimes.

    The real questions are why the church hid these desipicable acts for decades, and simply moved guilty priests to new locations, where they could continue their crimes.

    Simple – the priests bring in money. No priests, no money. The church is of course really worshiping the “golden calf”

    But there has to be another reason as well. And we’ve seen the tip of this iceberg in some bishops being accused, being forced to resign finally etc. The answer most likely is the rot of the church’s pedophilia goes all the way to the top.

    Also, in case you missed it, the same exact thing happened in Ireland. Priests abusing children.

    And also in Ireland, and a reference said also in Italy, the Catholic group “Christian Brothers” is also guilty. They run orphanages and reform schools there. Kids were forced to work on production lines building religious trinkets. The factories were cold, the food was terrible, they were sexually abused. And as some people have said, a “good day” was a day without a beating.

    It never ends. God save the world from this monster. There is no fixing it at all.

  2. Katie Murphy - ex cath says:

    The Thomas Moore center

    This is Catholic if I remember correctly.

    The German pope, who born and grew up in Nazi Germany, is behind this suit. He has of course, not forgotten the lessons of his youth.

    Think about it………. Hitler was born and Baptized a catholic in very catholic Austria. And he learned his hatred of the Jews there – go read Mein Kampf. And he leveraged that hatred in the also poisoned society of Germany to get elected, and 50 million died.

    And the church has yet to excommunicate Hitler. But the Pope just recently UN-excommunicated a bishop Williamson, who is a Holocaust denier. Why – to bring his 600,000 nazi mentality followers back into the church. Probably because the vatican gets a tithe from each persons donations, and eg $100 ea would amount to $60 million.

    This shows you the mentality of the Catholic church. Hatred of gay people is its middle name, just as Hatred of Jews was its middle name in the past.

    And the big point is not that hate crimes laws can punish hate speech. They cannot. But what they will do is expose the churches involvement in its latest hatred in the name of God and Jesus. And more and more people will leave this church which operates on fear and guilt to gain mind control.

    And just think – if Germany had hate speech laws, and enforced them, hitler would have gone to jail for life.

    And WWII most likely would not have happened. No wonder many European countries have hate speech laws.

    This btw is not the church of life. Their abortion stance is nothing but what they hope is a trump card / clobber statement to blind the faithful to the churches enormous crimes.

    Europe understands. Only about 15% of the people there go to church regularly, the Catholic church is a joke, and the people who do go are mostly widows looking for husbands.

    With america on the path to protecting gay people, the church will be all but dead in the western world. Which hardly makes up for their part in history’s worst conflagration of murder and unimaginable human suffering.

    And who issued passports to many Nazi officials, letting them escape to Argentina – none other then the Vatican, which has the right to issue passports. And of course these people were involved to some extent in the temple bombings in Argentina, which has a large Jewish community.

    Anyone who is Catholic,and believes in Jesus 2nd of two commandments – love thy neighbor as thyself, should simply cut off all contributions to this church. Showing God that you know the truth.

    And find a church that is true to His teachings. Not the always hate filled, totally jealous of their power monster of Rome. Which has brought so much misery and murder upon the world.

    Maybe your salvation depends on it.

The Senate Democratic leader describes the Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee "historically unbelievable and historically unprecedented."


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