Sunday, January 23, 2005
Members of a Christian group called Repent America have been charged with hate crimes for protesting at a gay and lesbian rally in Philadelphia. The prosecutor claims that the group was attempting to incite a riot. The group's defense attorney says his clients' conduct is protected by the First Amendment, and added, "We believe that this is the first case in the nation where preaching the Bible has formed the evidentiary basis for a hate crime." More . . .
UPDATE: A state judge reviewed footage of the incident and found that the defendants did nothing illegal during their protest. The judge therefore revoked an order that had prohibited the defendants from coming within 100 feet of a gay rights event. The criminal charges against the defendants are still pending, apparently before a different judge. Footage of the event is available at the Crime & Federalism blog.
This link discusses a case where teens have been charged with a hate crime for, interestingly enough, beating up a Satan worshiper. [Mark Godsey]