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February 08, 2005

Finally making sense in PA

In an effort to prevent more judicial atrocities such as the Philly 5 fiasco, legislators in Pennsylvania have introduced a bill designed to remove language from a state "hate crimes" law

House Bill 1493 became Act 143 of the Pennsylvania Hate Crimes Law in November 2002 and added "sexual orientation" protection to the law. Legislators and other opponents -- like Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania -- warned then that the law could be used against the First Amendment rights of Christians, a charge sponsors adamantly denied was the intent. She even recalls one of the measure's supporters accusing opponents of having "an active imagination," and saying the bill was about "thugs, hooligans, murderers, and blood in the street," not about infringing on the rights of Christians.

That was until the pro-homosexual Outfest event in October 2004, when the "ethnic intimidation" charge against the arrested Christians was drawn from Act 143. Gramley says opponents of the measure now have the proof they need -- and 17 of them have co-sponsored House Bill 204.

"[This bill] removes the wording that was added back in November 2002 [when] 'actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity' [were added]," she explains.

State Representative Tom Yewcic was to introduce the new bill today (February 7) at a capital news conference. Gramley calls the lawmakers' move a "bold step in restoring the First Amendment rights of Pennsylvania's Christians."

Five Christians in Philadelphia still face the possibility of 47 years in prison for the horrendous crime of quoting the Bible.

Posted by Jack Lewis at February 8, 2005 08:09 AM

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