Christian Pastors File Lawsuit Against Hate Crime Bill

A lawsuit filed by several pastors in Michigan contends that the recently passed Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act is unconstitutional and violates their First Amendment right to condemn homosexuality from the pulpit.  The pastors fear that they could be prosecuted under the law if their sermons incite violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.  Christians opposed to the hate crime legislation gathered in Washington D.C. last November to test the limits of the law by reading biblical passages against homosexuality, including verses stating that homosexuals should be put to death.  None were arrested.  Some GLBT activists accused homophobic pastors of trying to incite a hate crime to test the scope the law.

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