Hate crimes lawsuit

BAY CITY, Mich. - Three Michigan pastors claim a new hate crime law infringes on their First Amendment rights and should be declared unconstitutional. They filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try to strike down a portion of the federal law, which was signed last fall.

The law expands federal hate crimes to those committed against people because of sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The pastors believe they could be targeted for their sermons against gay lifestyles. But supporters of the law say it's aimed at acts of violence, not speech by clergy.

The pastors are Jim Combs of Waterford, Rene Ouellette of Bridgeport and Levon Yuille of Ypsilanti. A fourth plaintiff is Gary Glenn, head of the American Family Association of Michigan.

The lawsuit is in federal court in Bay City.


On the Net: Copy of lawsuit