Close call on ‘hate crimes’ laws
AFA initiatives, Christian activism, news briefs

January 2006 – For pro-family groups that try to keep tabs on what homosexual activists are up to, it was a close call.

In what was called a “historic vote” in September, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill containing a provision which added “sexual orientation” to federal hate crimes laws.

While the Senate has voted in favor of a federal hate crimes statute for sexual orientation on a number of occasions, it was the first time the House had done so.

The vote took pro-family groups completely by surprise, since they were unaware that a hate crimes bill was even being considered by House members. That’s because the hate crimes provision was offered as an amendment to the Children’s Safety Act – a measure that was aimed at protecting kids from sex offenders.

“No one could possibly be opposed to a bill protecting children, so naturally supporters of the homosexual agenda in Congress stuffed the hate crimes amendment into the Children’s Safety Act,” said AFA Chairman Don Wildmon. “This was cynical power politics at its worst.”

The measure – with the hate crimes amendment – passed in the House 223 to 199, with 30 Republicans, 192 Democrats and 1 Independent voting in favor.

Fortunately, the bill wound up in a House-Senate conference committee to work out differences in the two versions of the measure, and pro-family groups were able to ramp up the pressure. The bill died in committee.

But the close call alerted pro-family groups to a nasty little secret: Pressure is growing on members of Congress to add sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws. “If people don’t get involved and contact their representatives in Washington,” Wildmon said, “we’re all going to wake up and find that a new – and potentially dangerous – hate crimes statute is in effect.”

Wildmon said such a hate crimes law would eventually come into conflict with the freedom of Christian ministers to preach the truth about homosexuality.

“People should not be fooled. Expanding federal hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation is not only an unnecessary expansion of federal authority, it will one day be used to supress the Gospel,” he said. “The homosexual movement is pushing for a showdown with the church in this country. 

“The Senate will probably deal with this issue next year. We need to let our senators know where we stand and where we expect them to stand on this crucial issue.”  undefined