Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hate Crimes Law Violates Pennsylvania Constituion

By John Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, July 25, 2008 ( - On Wednesday the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a short per curiam order, in which it agreed with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that the state legislature violated the Pennsylvania Constitution when it added "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Pennsylvania's "ethnic intimidation" law.

Eleven Christians of the evangelical group Repent America were arrested due to that same law in 2004 for reading the Bible and singing hymns at Outfest, a homosexual rally. Though the case was eventually dropped, Repent America filed legal action in 2005 against the act, citing its unconstitutional nature.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed last November that the law was unconstitutional and struck it down. On appeal the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania sided with the Commonwealth Court, saying on Wednesday: "The order of the Commonwealth Court is AFFIRMED for the reasons ably set forth in the opinion of the Honorable James Gardner Colins, which opinion is adopted as that of the Supreme Court."

In the Commonwealth Court opinion Justice Colins observed that the court struck down the law because the provision violated Article III of the state Constitution, which prohibits a bill's alteration during its passage through the legislature, if the bill's original purpose is changed.
The bill started as a measure against agricultural vandalism, and was changed by the state legislature into a hate crimes bill designed to make it illegal for anybody to protest public homosexual activities and celebrations. The law was used to persecute anybody who stood in the way of the homosexual agenda, redefining peaceful protest by Christians as hate crime.

Though it was thrown out on something of a technicality, I am still glad it was thrown out. We must be constantly vigilant against such laws.

I also praise God for the boldness of the Pennsylvania 11. Because of their boldness to preach the truth and fight the law, a dangerous law was overturned.

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