/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement after approval by the House Judiciary Committee of a proposed federal "hate crimes" bill, H.R. 1913.
This measure would allow the federal government, for the first time ever, to prosecute any violent crime anywhere in the country that "is motivated by prejudice" against a number of protected characteristics, including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."
Following is Perkins' statement:
"Congress should protect all Americans equally and not provide special protections to a few politically favored groups. A vote in favor of so-called 'hate crimes' legislation today is a direct violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. Congress needs to remember that preserving the meaning of equal justice under the law is more important than catering to the whims of political fashion.
"All violent crimes are hate crimes, and every victim is equally important. All of our citizens deserve equal justice under the law. Do we somehow care less about victims violently assaulted because of robberies or personal disputes than we do about those assaulted because they belong in a federally designated category?
"Additionally, this poorly-worded legislation shows contempt for the moral and religious views of millions of Americans by including 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' as protected categories at a time when a large plurality of our fellow citizens rejects the implied meaning of those labels. The bill sends a message that disapproval of homosexual behavior alone - even if expressed peacefully and lovingly - constitutes a form of 'hate' that is equivalent to racial bigotry.
"This is an insult to many compassionate individuals who sincerely object to such conduct, not only based on religious and moral boundaries that are thousands of years old, but also based on well-founded concerns about the serious health risks of such conduct.
"This also sets us on a slippery slope toward serious infringements of the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. By ratifying the 'thought crimes' mentality, this bill paves the way for future expansions of its scope. Indeed, Christians have already been prosecuted under thought crime laws for peacefully expressing disapproval of homosexual behavior in Sweden, England, Canada, and even in Philadelphia."