Early in 2010, Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan and three Michigan pastors filed a lawsuit against the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The group was represented by the ultra-right wing Thomas More Law Center, which argued that “the sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”
You’d think that with Glenn focusing on this Senate race and rounding us support from leaders like Mike Huckabee, the last thing he’d be interested in would be resurrecting this two year-old lawsuit … but that is exactly what is happening:
A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is taking up the claim of three Michigan ministers that a federal hate crime law infringes on their First Amendment rights and should be declared unconstitutional.
Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday.
The law expands federal hate crimes to those committed against people because of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
The ministers say they could be targeted for their sermons against gay behavior. The law’s supporters say it’s aimed at acts of violence, not speech by clergy.
A lower court judge dismissed the lawsuit last year.
The ministers are Jim Combs of Waterford, Rene Ouellette (oo-LET’) of Bridgeport and Levon Yuille (YOOL) of Ypsilanti. Another plaintiff is Gary Glenn, head of the American Family Association of Michigan.
President Obama signed the legislation in October 2009 and, to date, not one person has been charged for preaching against homosexuality … but that obviously is not going to stop anti-gay activists from filing lawsuits claiming that is exactly what will happen.