Holder sued over 'Hate Crimes Act'

Bill Bumpas - OneNewsNow - 2/3/2010 7:00:00 AM A federal lawsuit has been filed against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal "Hate Crimes Act."

The lawsuit was filed against Holder by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) on behalf of three Michigan pastors and the president of the American Family Association of Michigan. Robert Muise, senior trial counsel for the TMLC and the attorney handling the case, tells OneNewsNow this law, attached to a defense authorization bill that the president signed last October, is political payoff.

"Those who supported this recent administration -- the homosexual lobby group, the homosexual activists -- it's no doubt that they had this as one of their top priorities because it’s the wedge to creating greater federal protections for certain class of persons, and those being people who engage in a form of certain deviate sexual behavior," Muise comments.

According to the TMLC attorney, this law criminalizes those who speak out against homosexuality based on biblical principles and violates the plaintiffs' rights to freedom of speech, expressive association, and exercise of free religion as protected by the First Amendment. The petitioners feel that the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution leave Congress lacking the authority to ratify the legislation.

"It is equating those pastors and religious persons who teach what the Bible teaches on homosexuality with somebody who might express racist comments," Muise contends. "I think what this is about is chilling and inhibiting freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion, and the right of expressive association in particular for Christians."

The TMLC attorney adds that the Hate Crimes Act -- officially known as the "Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act" -- gives government officials the power to decide which thoughts are and are not criminal under federal law.