In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. The law was pushed by every gay rights organization in the country. They claim that anyone who says anything negative about homosexuality is guilty of bullying them and therefore constitutes a hate crime.
Under the strictest definition of the law, any biblical preaching against sin in general, especially that of homosexuality could be considered hate language and therefore a hate crime. If convicted of the felony offense, a person could spend as much as 10 years in prison.
In 2010, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act’s constitutionality was challenged in court by the American Family Association of Michigan along with several Michigan pastors, Levon Yuille, Rene Ouellette and James Combs. The pastors and AFA of Michigan president Gary Glenn actively preached against homosexuality and that it was a sin according to the Bible. They saw the Hate Crimes Prevention Act as a violation of their constitutional rights for free speech and religion. Their federal lawsuit was filed against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Later that year Holder filed for a dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds of standing and ripeness. Standing and ripeness are legal terms that have to do with their legal ability to file the suit for future circumstances that may or may not ever happen. A federal district judge granted Holder’s request and dismissed the lawsuit.
The dismissal ruling was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by Robert Muise, Senior Counsel and Co-Founder of AFLC Co. Muise argued his case before the court in January of this year. The Sixth Circuit also dismissed the case claiming that the plaintiffs did not have proper legal standing to challenge the law.