FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tues., Feb. 2, 2010
CONTACT: Kathleen L. Lynch, Thomas More Law Center
Suit seeks to block homosexual activists from seeking
prosecution of pastors who oppose homosexual agenda
Marriage amendment co-author asks court to declare “hate crime” law unconstitutional
Group fears Obama judges may agree with homosexual activists’
legal strategy to prosecute religious speech as “inducing” violence
LANSING, Mich. — The new federal “hate crime” law enacted last fall unconstitutionally violates religious free speech rights by threatening to criminalize public opposition to homosexual activists’ political agenda, including so-called homosexual “marriage,” a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of a co-author of Michigan’s Marriage Protection Amendment and three Christian pastors argues.
Gary Glenn, Midland, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, who co-authored the Marriage Protection Amendment approved by Michigan voters in 2004, is lead plaintiff in the case, which argues that the new federal law unconstitutionally poses a serious threat to religious free speech rights. Glenn in public comments has regularly cited the use of such “hate crime” laws in Europe, Canada, and at the state level in the U.S. to prosecute Christians merely for speaking out against homosexual activists’ political agenda.
Glenn is joined by three plaintiffs: African-American Pastor Levon Yuille of The Bible Church in Ypsilanti and host of Joshua’s Trail, a Detroit radio talk show, Pastor R.B. Ouellette of the 7,000-member First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, and Pastor James Combs of Waterford, who pastors four Christian congregations in Michigan totaling approximately 10,000 members.
Glenn has said that in Michigan, “homosexual activists have clearly and openly admitted that they want to see pastors and others who speak out against the homosexual political agenda criminally prosecuted as ‘accessories’ any time a violent crime is committed against an individual who engages in homosexual behavior or cross-dressing.”
The lawsuit cites a Saginaw News interview in 2005 with prominent homosexual activist Jeffrey Montgomery, former executive director of the Triangle Foundation, a Detroit-based homosexual lobby: The News reported:
“Jeffrey Montgomery is calling out the political extremists and religious fundamentalists whose rhetoric, he says, has fueled a steady rise in hate crimes against gays and lesbians. ‘We’ve seen an increase in vitriolic, vociferous, vehement, demonizing rhetoric against gays and lesbians,’ said Montgomery… ‘The vocal anti-gay activists should be held accountable as accessories to these crimes because, many times, it is their rhetoric that led the perpetrators to believe that their crimes are OK.’ …If a criminal borrows a gun and then uses it to kill someone, the law considers the gun owner an accessory to the crime. So, too, are the people who own the words that incite violence, Montgomery said.” (“Triangle exec decries violence” by Lania Coleman, p. 4A, The Saginaw News, April 27, 2005)
The suit also cites a report by State News, the Michigan State University student newspaper, which quoted another prominent homosexual activist — former Triangle Foundation director of policy Sean Kosofsky — as saying: “We personally believe that the AFA may support the murder of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.” http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=6737
The suit also cites a news release issued by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 2007 which accused Glenn and Cardinal Maida of the Archdiocese of Detroit — merely by having publicly disagreed with homosexual activists’ political agenda on marriage and other issues — of being responsible for inciting the falsely-alleged beating death of a homosexual senior citizen in Detroit. http://thetaskforce.org/press/releases/prMF_022307
“It is appalling hypocrisy for (Glenn and Maida) to pretend that their venomous words and organizing have no connection to the plague of hate violence against gay people, including the murder of Mr. Anthos,” the NGLTF statement said.
Glenn said homosexual activists and their political allies — including Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who condemned the purported “hate crime” against Anthos on the U.S. Senate floor — were later embarrassed when Detroit police announced they had found no evidence of any assault and the Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled Anthos suffered a blow to the head after falling due to arthritic paralysis of his neck. (Associated Press, March 28, 2007: http://www.randythomas.org/blog/2007/03/hate-crime-or-arthritis.html)
The statements by Montgomery, Kosofsky, and NGLTF “make clear that homosexual activists hope to sell society and the courts on their repressive view that anyone who dares publicly disagree with their political agenda should face the threat of being criminally prosecuted, and they’re not beyond fabricating false ‘hate crime’ claims to do it,” Glenn said.
The lawsuit argues that a pre-existing provision of federal law could be used by homosexual activists and their judicial allies — in conjunction with the new “hate crime” law — to justify such prosecutions.
U.S. Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 2(a) states: “Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.” http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/2.html
Dictionary.com defines the word “counsel” to mean “advice, opinion or instruction given in directing the judgment or conduct of another.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/counsel
Dictionary.com defines the word “induce” to mean “to lead or move by persuasion or influence, as to some action or state of mind.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/induce
Glenn said under the federal “hate crime” law, “there will no doubt be openly homosexual or sympathetic federal judges appointed by President Obama who agree with homosexual activists’ legal strategy of accusing anyone who non-violently speaks out against homosexual activists’ political agenda of ‘inducing’ criminal activity any time a crime is committed or falsely alleged to be committed against an individual who engages in homosexual behavior or cross-dressing.”
Glenn cited as examples of that concern a group of state-level judges in Michigan whose campaigns were endorsed by homosexual activist groups and who he believes are likely to share the Triangle Foundation’s legal reasoning about criminally prosecuting speech:
* Openly homosexual 36th District Judge Rudy Serra, Wayne County, a former member of the Triangle Foundation’s board of trustees, and 57th District Judge William Baillargeon, Allegan County, a former member of the Triangle Foundation board of advisors.
* Triangle Pride PAC, the Triangle Foundations’ affiliated political action committee, also endorsed the following sitting judges in the 2008 election: 15th District Judge Chris Easthope, Washtenaw County; 46th District Judge William Richards, Oakland County; 91st District Judge Elizabeth Church, Chippewa County; Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, Oakland County Circuit Judge Mary Ellen Brennan, Wayne County Circuit Judges Connie Kelley and Lynne Pierce, and Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper. http://www.pride-pac.org/guide/showall.php
* Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway “supports (homosexual and cross-dressing) rights and issues and was strongly endorsed by” Between the Lines, a homosexual activist newsmagazine in Detroit. Circuit Court Judges Christopher Yates and Donald Shelton were also endorsed by Between the Lines in 2008, as were District Court Judges Bill Richards and Elizabeth Church. http://www.pridesource.com/article.shtml?article=32861
* Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Dragunchuk — whose 2005 ruling in support of homosexual activists’ lawsuit against the state Marriage Protection Amendment was overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals — was endorsed by both Triangle Pride PAC and another homosexual activist group, the Lansing Association for Human Rights.