Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Thomas More Law Center Files Federal Suit To Overturn The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act Based Upon Unconstitutionality

The Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm which defends and promotes America’s Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life, announced on February 2nd, 2010 that it has filed a federal lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., challenging the constitutionality of the recently-enacted federal Hate Crimes Act, officially entitled the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act”. The Act criminalizes so-called “bias” crimes motivated by a person’s “actual or perceived” “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” and thus elevates those engaged in certain deviant sexual behaviors to a special, protected class of persons under federal law.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, on behalf of Pastor Levon Yuille, Pastor Rene Ouellette, Pastor James Combs, and Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan (AFA-Michigan). Read the full story HERE and the 27-page lawsuit HERE.

Other media reports on this development published by WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, and a former county prosecutor, explained, “There is no legitimate law enforcement need for this federal law. Of the 1.38 million violent crimes reported in the U.S. by the FBI in 2008, only 243 were considered as motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. Moreover, Eric Holder himself testified at a Senate hearing that the states are doing a fine job in this area.” Thompson believes the ultimate purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin. He also contends it elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.

Why does the Thomas More Law Center consider the Hate Crimes Act unconstitutional? The lawsuit alleges that this new provision of the law violates the plaintiffs’ rights to freedom of speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment, and it violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment. The lawsuit also alleges that Congress lacked authority to enact the legislation under the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The lawsuit expresses concern that the Hate Crimes Act “provides law enforcement with authorization and justification to conduct federal investigative and other federal law enforcement actions against Plaintiffs and others deemed to be opponents of homosexual activism, the homosexual lifestyle, and the homosexual agenda,” thereby expanding “the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other federal law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies.”

Consequently, the new hate crimes law “subjects Plaintiffs to increased government scrutiny, questioning, investigation, surveillance, and intimidation on account of their strong, public opposition to homosexual activism, the homosexual lifestyle, and the homosexual agenda, thereby causing a tangible and concrete deterrent, inhibitory, and chilling effect on Plaintiffs’ activities and their rights to freedom of speech, expressive association, and the free exercise of religion” in violation of the United States Constitution.

The Law Center could also argue that any need for "hate crimes legislation" is already amply covered by individual state laws. The Anti-Defamation League reveals that Wyoming is the only state without any laws or avenues of legal redress for hate crimes. Ironically, the ADL was one of the most vocal champions of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Law.


  1. Now if all these good Christians would figure out why Congress passing a law making Christmas a National holiday is against what the Founding Fathers meant (in other words Congress broke a law) when they put the First Amendment into play I'd faint in amazement!
    How are you good Mormons doing by the way? Build another "Ward" any where in the state?


  2. The self-described AFA (American Family Association) is one of the worst race-mixers around. Donald Wildmon, the head of the thing, advertises that he will send a negro to your white church, "free of charge," to integrate it. He even refused to allow his son to play on a ball-team, because he claimed that there were no negroes on it.

    When one of his "affiliates" was invited to an anti-homo event in Colorado, he backed out, saying that he wanted to keep homos out of his church, but wanted negroes brought in. It's just another Bolshevist-front to woo heterosexuals and, then, clobber them with negroes, left-wingers, pinkos, zebras, etc.

  3. I suspect their filing will be thrown out, because they claim certain people are "elevated to protected class status", which is false. Protected class does not refer to certain groups of people, it refers to a classification.

    Protected class under the law refers to race, religion, gender, etc, but not any PARTICULAR race, religion, etc.

    It is confusing, because when we hear the word "class", we naturally think of middle class, upper class, working class, etc. But in the legal context, in this area of law, class refers to a classification, such as race, religion, gender, country of origin, etc.

    So if the protected class is religion, it is never a case where Baptists are protected, for instance, but not Mormons or Catholics. If you are discriminated against, say, in employment or public accommodation, in order to remain within the law, the discrimination cannot be based on race, religion, etc, and it is often difficult to prove anyway.

    If a business bars you from entering because you are wearing a tank top, that is legal, because manner of dress is not a protected class under the law.

    So their whole premise is faulty, and distorts the wording and the meaning of the law. The law doesn't change how any particular group is treated, it merely prevents discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. It treats all people equally.

    This same group has been spreading the lie that this law prohibits hate speech, which it does not.

    They can espouse any damned-fool doctrine they want, but they should probably be careful not to shout something about the victim's religion, race, etc, when violently assaulting them. That is when the law kicks in.

    You will often hear the falsehood that "the law doesn't protect me, as a heterosexual white male, because I am not in any protected class". This is nonsense. I can give you plenty of examples of African Americans being prosecuted for a bias-related crime because at the time they were assaulting a white person they yelled about hating white people or they don't think white people should be in their neighborhood. Several recent incidents like this in Seattle, here is one:


    and another: