by Peter Smith
ANN ARBOR, Michigan, December 10, 2010 (www.LifeSiteNews.com) – An appeal was filed earlier this week with the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the Federal Hate Crimes Act passed in 2009.
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the suit, the first in the nation to challenge the federal law, on behalf of Pastors Rene Ouellette, James Combs, Levon Yuille and the president of the American Family Association of Michigan, Gary Glenn, against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Earlier this year, a U.S. district court judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked “standing” to bring the lawsuit, and that the case was not “ripe” for adjudication.
The plaintiffs allege that the 2009 Hate Crimes Act was clearly intended to intimidate Christians and their religious leaders into remaining silent concerning their religious belief that homosexual conduct is sinful.
“This statute is all about elevating certain persons (homosexuals) to a protected class under federal law based on nothing more than their choice to have sex with persons of the same gender, while marginalizing strong religious opposition to this immoral choice,” states the opening brief, filed by the Thomas More Center with the Sixth Circuit.
“Under the guise of enforcing ‘niceness’ and promoting ‘tolerance,’ homosexual advocacy groups have mobilized their financial power to purchase political clout which they now use to shut down any criticism of their deviant lifestyle,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC. “The truth is they are one of the most intolerant groups in our society and viciously attack anyone who opposes their point of view.”
The Thomas More Center says that even statistics compiled by their own “gay rights” advocacy groups show that the greatest threat of violence to homosexuals comes not from Christians, but from other homosexuals. They also show that during the period from 1999 to 2003, a homosexual was 244 percent more likely to commit an act of violence against another homosexual than was a heterosexual.
In contrast, the legal group points out that Christians are taught to love the sinner, but to hate the sin.
The group says that evidence shows the Act will be used by federal prosecutors to intimidate Christians and shut down any speech critical of the homosexual lifestyle.
They also question the need for federal action when all 50 states already have criminal laws punishing violence against all persons.
In 2008, the FBI reported approximately 1.38 million violent crimes in the United States, out of which 243 crimes were considered “bias” motivated because of the victim’s sexual orientation. This amounts to a fraction of one percent of violent crimes committed.
“This new federal law promotes two Orwellian concepts,” said Robert Muise, the senior trial counsel for TMLC who is handling the case. “First, it creates a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior. And secondly, it creates ‘thought crimes’ by criminalizing certain ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and the involvement of such ideas, beliefs, and opinions in a crime will make it deserving of federal prosecution.”
“Consequently, government officials are claiming the power to decide which thoughts are criminal under federal law and which are not.”
The appeal’s opening brief can be read here.