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Foundation for Moral Law to Represent Christians Challenging 'Hate Crime' Law in Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Contact: Rich Hobson, Foundation for Moral Law, 334-262-1245


MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and attorneys with the Foundation for Moral Law announced today that the Foundation will be heading the legal team arguing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that Pennsylvania's "hate crimes" law violates the state constitution.  The "hate crimes" law at issue, Act 143, added "sexual orientation" to the crime of "ethnic intimidation" and in 2004 was used to arrest a group of Christians evangelizing at a Philadelphia homosexual parade.  Several of those Christians brought this case, Marcavage v. Rendell, and successfully argued in a lower court that the "hate crimes" law violated Article III, Sec. 1 of the Penn. Constitution because it was unlawfully altered from its original purpose as a "crop destruction" bill.


Judge Roy Moore said about this important case:


"The law can punish actions, not 'our thoughts.'  As we have seen in Philadelphia and in various states and countries, 'hate crimes' are used to prohibit Christians and anybody else from referring to homosexual behavior as immoral or a sin.  When Pennsylvania passed a 'hate crimes' bill, the legislature and governor not only transgressed the role of the government of a free people, but it also violated the requirements of Pennsylvania's Constitution and should be struck down."


In 2002, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 143, and two years later a group of 11 Christian evangelists--including petitioners in this case Michael Marcavage, Mark Diener, Linda Beckman, Randall Beckman, Susan Startzell, Arlene Elshinnawy, and Nancy Major--were arrested and charged under the new "ethnic intimidation" statute for evangelizing at a homosexual parade in Philadelphia in 2004.  Although the charges were eventually dismissed, the Christians, to prevent future arrests, filed this lawsuit against the Penn. Governor and legislative leaders on the grounds that Act 143 was amended so much through the legislative process that its original purpose (crop destruction) was altered, a violation of Penn. Constitution, Article III, Section 1. 


The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed and held that Act 143 violated the Penn. Constitution and was therefore void.  The Commonwealth, which is appealing the case to the Penn. Supreme Court, filed its brief last week.  The Foundation, along with local counsel in Pennsylvania, will file its brief in March and will argue that the lower court should be affirmed because the "hate crimes" bill violated the Commonwealth Constitution.


The Foundation for Moral Law, a national non-profit legal organization, is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and is dedicated to restoring the knowledge of God in law and government through litigation and education relating to moral issues and religious liberty.