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July 14, 2005

Suit opposing bogus hate-crime law thrown out of court

From AgapePress:

Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, says the hate crimes law, amazingly, began as a bill (H.B. 1493) dealing with vandalism of agricultural property. "It's very concerning to us," she notes, "that the common law court saw no problem with a bill that had started out as an agricultural vandalism bill, then overnight the state Senate took that, scratched every line -- I mean every line in the original bill is marked out -- and [the legislators] insert the sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity wording in there."

The AFA of Pennsylvania contends that, in June of 2001, H.B. 1493 was essentially hijacked in the State Senate and gutted of all its original language. Content that dealt with eggs, milk, crops, fruit trees, and other agricultural products and property was replaced in its entirety by wording that included "actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity."

The Pennsylvania Senate voted 32-15 to pass what had been turned into a hate crime bill. Then on November 26, 2002, despite warnings of potential First Amendment rights violations, the State House also approved the legislation by a vote of 118-79, and it was subsequently signed into law.

Shortly afterward Gramley sued, along with fellow pro-family plaintiff Frances Bevan of the Pennsylvania Eagle Forum, the concerned, pro-family citizens contending that the hate crime bill violated the U.S. Constitution. Their suit was unsuccessful, however; the Commonwealth Court voted 6-1 against allowing the suit to proceed, and the judges never even addressed the constitutional questions raised. Instead, they ruled that Gramley and Bevan did not have "a substantial, direct and immediate" interest in the outcome of the case and therefore lacked standing to sue....

An Associated Press report notes that Judge Dan Pellegrini, the sole dissenter to the Commonwealth Court's opinion, expressed strong support for the plaintiffs and warned that all Pennsylvanians will lose out if residents are not permitted to issue timely challenges to what they view as legislative shenanigans. Gramley says an appeal of the court's decision is being considered.

They can't do it honestly, so they cheat. It's the same old story.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 14, 2005 08:13 AM

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