Three fundamental concerns are driving the formation of the new citizens organization:
I. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on all businesses and property owners, with a particularly negative impact on faith- based and faith-inspired businesses and property owners.
II. The negative impact of special rights initiatives on every citizen's constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.
III. The negative impact of the practice of homosexuality on the individuals who practice it and on the rest of the society.
The main multifaceted emphasis of the group is to defend Traditional Marriage as 'between one man and one woman', to respond to the controversy at the University of Notre Dame regarding homosexual activism at several levels, to respond to 'special rights for homosexuals' ordinances as they come forward in the Region and to facilitate help and ministry for those suffering from the ill effects of the homosexual lifestyle.
White House threatens to veto hate crimes lawMay 22, 2007
House votes to extend federal protection to gender, sexual orientation
MSNBC political calendar
WASHINGTON - Just hours after the White House issued a veto threat Thursday, the House voted to add gender and sexual orientation to the categories covered by federal hate crimes law.
The House legislation, passed 237-180, also makes it easier for federal law enforcement to take part in or assist local prosecutions involving bias-motivated attacks. Similar legislation is also moving through the Senate, setting the stage for another veto showdown with President Bush.
“This is an important vote of conscience, of a statement of what America is, a society that understands that we accept differences,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the only openly gay man in the House, presided over the chamber as the final vote was taken.
The vote came after fierce lobbying from civil rights groups, who have been pushing for years for added protections against hate crimes, and social conservatives, who say the bill threatens the right to express moral opposition to homosexuality and singles out groups of citizens for special protection.
The White House, in a statement warning of a veto, said state and local criminal laws already cover the new crimes defined under the bill, and there was “no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement.”
Attempts to expand protection
“Our criminal justice system has been built on the ideal of equal justice for all,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “Under this bill justice will no longer be equal, but depend on the race, sex, sexual orientation, disability or status of the victim.”
Republicans, in a parliamentary move that would have effectively killed the bill, tried to add seniors and the military to those qualifying for hate crimes protection. It was defeated on a mainly party-line vote.
Hate crimes under current federal law apply to acts of violence against individuals on the basis of race, religion, color, or national original. Federal prosecutors have jurisdiction only if the victim is engaged in a specific federally protected activity such as voting.
The House bill would extend the hate crimes category to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability and give federal authorities greater leeway to participate in hate crimes investigations. It approves $10 million over the next two years to help local law enforcement officials cover the cost of hate crimes prosecutions.
Federal investigators could step in if local authorities are unwilling or unable to act. The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay rights group, said this federal intervention could have made a difference in the case of Brandon Teena, the young Nebraska transsexual depicted in the movie “Boys Don’t Cry” who was raped after two friends discovered that he was biologically female and then murdered when local police did not arrest those responsible.
Dobson: Intent is ‘to muzzle people of faith’
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