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      Homosexual activists weigh in on Hate Crimes Lawsuit

      The hate crimes lawsuit story NBC did Monday has lit up

      More than 8,000 people have clicked on the story, hundreds have voted on the online poll, and dozens have left comments.

      It's about a local group of religious leaders that are challenging the federal hate crimes act.

      Now, supporters of the hate crimes act are weighing in.

      Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan, along with the pastor of First Baptist Church in Bridgeport Township, and two metro Detroit pastors, say under the Federal Hate Crimes Act people who speak out against homosexuality could be prosecuted as accessories to crimes against them.

      However, homosexual activists and supporters of the hate crimes act disagree.

      Alicia Skillman, Executive Director of the Triangle Foundation in Detroit, says "I think the complaint is a smokescreen, and it takes people away from the real issue. I believe the government did the right thing by protecting gay people from those physical acts of violence and those physical acts of hate."

      Gary Glenn says, "We would join anyone else in condemning acts of violence against anyone including people involved in the homosexual lifestyle, but a pastor should remain free in this country to express his sincerely held religious views without having to fear prosecution as a criminal accessory if someone involved in the homosexual lifestyle is a victim of violence."

      PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of the Tri-CIties says "Hate crimes legislation is about actions, not words. The hate crimes legislation that has passed on the federal level includes clear and concise protections for free speech."

      Homosexual advocates NBC25 spoke with say, pastors will not be prosecuted based on their views of homosexuality.

      Skillman says, "There have been no instances reported of this happening. I believe they're just trying to incite hate, but the real issue is that people are now protected from physical acts of violence and hate."

      Plaintiffs in the case say they're not acting out of hate. They say, they condemn the beliefs and actions of those who claim God hates homosexuals.

      Homosexual advocates say additional laws need to be establish to protect gays in Michigan from discrimination. They say, there are no state laws that protect homosexuals from being fired from their jobs and being denied housing.

      On the Net: Copy of lawsuit

      Related StoriesMidMichigan religious leaders challenge hate crimes law - 2/8/2010Hate crimes lawsuit - 2/2/2010