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Pastors challenge hate crimes law

The new federal hate crimes law is being challenged by a group of pastors and a conservative organization, who claim the law violates several provisions of the Constitution.

Main Justice reports that lawyers from the Thomas More Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of Pastors Levon Yuille, Rene Ouellette and James Combs as well as Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan.

The complaint alleges that the law, passed to stop bias-motivated crimes against gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered individuals, violates the First, Fifth and Tenth Amendments, as well as the Commerce Clause. It lists Attorney General Eric Holder as the defendant, and is the first constitutional challenge to the new hate crimes law’s provisions.

“[T]he Hate Crimes Act … promotes [an] Orwellian concept: thought crimes,” the complaint states. “[It] criminalizes certain ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and the involvement of such ideas, beliefs, and opinions in a crime will make the crime deserving of federal prosecution. … [The] Hate Crimes Act is intended to send a government endorsed message to those persons who oppose the homosexual agenda on the basis of deeply held religious beliefs, such as Plaintiffs, that their religious beliefs are disfavored and the equivalent of racist beliefs.”