What impact will US hate-crimes bill have?
A bill that would add "sexual orientation" to federal hate-crimes law will make homosexuals a protected class for civil rights purposes and threaten free speech, charges the leader of a global movement supporting traditional families.
The bill, passed in the House in September and now pending in the Senate, is a "subtle attack on the natural family," warns Allan Carlson, founder and convener of the World Congress of Families.
"While it's presented to the public as a way to stop physical attacks on gays, adding so-called sexual orientation to existing hate-crimes law could be used to crush dissent," said Carlson.
"After all, gay activists have told us repeatedly that objections to homosexuality spawn anti-gay violence," he continued. "It then becomes a short step from adding an extra punishment for physical acts to penalizing controversial views."
The companion bill in the Senate is expected to be approved soon by the Senate Judiciary Committee, paving the way for a floor vote.
Carlson noted that in Canada and Sweden similar laws have been used to punish _expression.
In Sweden in 2004, Pentecostal Pastor Ake Green was sent to prison for a month for a 2003 sermon in which he described homosexual acts as "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society."
In the Canadian province of Alberta, Rev. Stephen Boissoin is being threatened with thousands of dollars in fines by the province's Human Rights Tribunal for writing a letter to the editor decrying public school indoctrination in favor of the gay lifestyle.
Carlson points out that in the past, hate-crimes laws have been based on race, religion, ethnicity or sex mostly immutable characteristics.
If homosexuals are added to federal law in the U.S., he said, for the first time a protected class would be designated solely on the basis of sexual behavior.
"Homosexuality isn't biologically determined," he insisted. "The much-touted search for a 'gay gene' of several years back has elicited no scientific evidence."
Carlson contended that while everyone's rights should be protected, and physical attacks on individuals should always be punished, "the purpose of adding gays to hate-crimes laws is to suppress dissent and legitimize conduct which all of the world's great religions view as immoral."
Civil-rights laws for homosexuals will lead to promotion of curricula that will press children to believe all forms of sexual _expression are equally valid, he said.
"But the future of society and civilization is based exclusively on one relationship the monogamous relationship of a man and a woman, sanctified by law and tradition," Carlson declared. "For Congress to pass such legislation is a move fraught with danger for families and society."