‘Hate crimes’ bill passed by House could threaten religious freedoms, critics warn

Following the U.S. House’s passage of hate crimes legislation attached to a military spending bill, critics have argued its provisions create “special rights” based on sexual behavior and could threaten religious freedom. They further charged that the provisions’ backers used the military as a “political tool” to achieve their goals.

The bill…contained a provision that would broaden the definition of federal hate crimes to include attacks based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The legislation also created a new federal crime to cover attacks against U.S. military personnel because of their service.

A reported 281 congressmen voted in favor of the bill, with 146 opposed. Fifteen Democrats and 131 Republicans opposed the bill, which now pass the Senate before it is sent to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

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