ONE NEWS NOW — Judge denies challenge to 'hate crimes' act

“‘The United States Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in the past to provide a higher level of protection for our First Amendment free-speech rights, but you don’t have to wait until you get prosecuted,’ the AFA of Michigan president contends. He adds that the decision will be appealed, and regardless of the appeals court’s decision, the case will be carried to the Supreme Court, where he hopes the lower court will be instructed to try the case based on its merits.”

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ONE NEWS NOW
Tupelo, Mississippi
September 15, 2010

Judge denies challenge to ‘hate crimes’ act
by Charlie Butts

A federal judge in Michigan has dashed an attempt to overturn the federal “hate crimes” law, but that ruling will be challenged.

The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act criminalizes actions against homosexuals on the same level as race and religion. Three ministers and Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan filed suit against the law, claiming it violated their First Amendment rights, but U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington dismissed the case.

“We anticipated this from the very beginning,” Glenn notes. “This is one of those cases that, if the Supreme Court will accept it, that’s exactly where it’s going to end up, and that’ll be the only decision that matters.”

The judge said the defendants had no merit to bring the lawsuit because they had not yet been accused of violating the law by publicly expressing their opposition to homosexual behavior as a sin. He stated in his ruling that case law requires that a plaintiff’s claim must be more than a “generalized grievance.” Glenn disagrees.

“The United States Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court in the past to provide a higher level of protection for our First Amendment free-speech rights, but you don’t have to wait until you get prosecuted,” the AFA of Michigan president contends.

He adds that the decision will be appealed, and regardless of the appeals court’s decision, the case will be carried to the Supreme Court, where he hopes the lower court will be instructed to try the case based on its merits — which he argues were ignored at that level.

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