The US Senate overwhelming passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act by a margin of 63-28, despite objections from many Republicans, including former presidential nominee Senator John McCain. The legislation passed as an amendment to what many consider a must-pass Department of Defense authorization bill.
Note that tacking on an amendment to an appropriations bill was NOT allowed in the case of Jim DeMint’s Audit the Fed amendment. He was told it was procedurally incorrect.
The bill S 909: Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act has already cleared the House.
Some feel that this bill would classify certain opinions as ‘hate speech’ and seriously restrict freedom of religious expression. S.909 is a direct violation of the First Amendment. It allows the federal government to prosecute people involved in “hate speech” transmitted over television, radio, and the internet. See what happened to a group in Maine:
MAINE – The Christian Action Network (CAN), accused of sending out mailings containing an “inflammatory anti-Muslim message”, received notice that they were being fined $4,000 and banned from fundraising in a May 6 letter from Elaine Thibodeau of the State of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Enclosed in the letter was a prepared consent agreement for CAN to sign agreeing to all of the state’s allegations, waiving all rights to appeal, and agreeing to pay the $4,000 fine. As part of the consent agreement, CAN is required to agree to all of the state’s allegations, including their assertion that their mailing amounted to hate speech. – Pajamas Media – June 25, 2009
S 909 has passed but there is yet another similar bill known as HR 1913 – Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 which has passed the House.
Call your Senators and tell them to vote NO.