The United States Senate is scheduled to vote later tonight on an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would grant special rights to homosexuals. This law would add sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes. The creation of a new thought crime, which gives greater protection under the law based simply on how one chooses to have sex, is clearly unconstitutional in that it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment in the U.S. Constitution. To add it to a defense bill intended to provide for our troops is an additional insult!

Please contact Senators Mark Warner (click here to e-mail) and Jim Webb (click here to e-mail him), or call the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for their offices, NOW and urge them to vote against the hate crimes amendment!

This amendment establishes a new federal offense for "hate crimes" and adds "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes in the U.S. criminal code. These classes are based solely upon unverifiable self-identification and/or sexual behavior. This bill mandates a separate federal criminal prosecution for state offenses — with the possibility of life imprisonment — for crimes motivated by actual or perceived "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

The Family Research Council has provided talking points on this issue (click here).

It has become increasingly difficult to stop hate crimes legislation in Richmond during the past few General Assembly sessions. This legislation passing through Congress, and likely signed by President Obama, will embolden pro-homosexual activists and legislators in Virginia.

The threat to religious freedom from passing hate crimes legislation is undeniable. There is no question that once this legislation is passed, it will be only a matter of time before the free speech and religious liberty rights of those opposed to homosexuality will be threatened. It must be understood that the goal of those pushing this unconstitutional legislation is not to protect homosexuals from violence — it is to silence Christians!

Once hate crimes laws are expanded, your right to share what some may deem politically incorrect viewpoints or ideas could be criminalized. In addition, once this becomes federal law, it will be nearly impossible to stop such efforts on the state level.

Proponents of hate crimes laws allege that our freedoms are safe, but they know that instances of overzealous prosecution under state or local hate crimes laws have already taken place in the United States. Cases of Americans being arrested and charged with crimes simply for sharing the Gospel with homosexuals or simply advocating for marriage between one man and one woman have already happened in California, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, just to name a few. It is unlikely you have heard about these cases because they don't necessarily make headlines on cable news or the newspapers.

The Family Foundation simply can't take radical homosexual activists at their word that our speech rights will be protected. Passage of this legislation begins the slippery slope to speech limits. In fact, the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals has already ruled that First Amendment rights in a case involving a Christian group were "vanishingly small" compared to the government's right to promote homosexuality. That's right. A court in the United States admitted that our free speech rights should "vanish" when confronted with homosexual activism!

Both Senators Warner and Webb have indicated their support for this legislation. It is imperative that citizens contact their offices NOW to urge they vote against hate crimes expansion! If the vote, by chance, does not take place tonight, please stay in contact with them until we win this important battle.