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An Open Letter Regarding the Current Hate Crimes Amendment


Oct. 20, 2005


To friends in the United States,

The greatest threat to our civil liberties and the future liberties of our children is once more upon us. In September the House of Representatives passed a "hate crimes" bill, entitled "The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act," as an amendment to the Child Safety Act (H.R. 3132). It was rushed through the House in 40 minutes in a stealth move by Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and includes among its classifications for special protection "sexual orientation" and even "gender identity" (i.e. transvestism and transsexualism). Now Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and others are seeking to get a similar amendment passed in the Senate. If it passes the Senate, it becomes the law of the land. Although the Senate Judiciary Committee passed today a new version of the Child Safety Act without the "hate crimes" amendment (S. 1086: "The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act," sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch [R-Utah]), it appears that Senator Kennedy either will try to reintroduce the amendment when the legislation comes to the floor or will add it to another bill such as "The Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005" (S. 1088). (Source:

It is important that you call your U.S. Senators, and perhaps too the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Bill Frist, at the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to reject such a "hate crime" amendment to any bill. If it passes, "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" will become ensconced into U.S. law as valid civil rights categories. A hate crime amendment will not make any safer homosexual and transgendered persons who are the victims of violent crime. Such crimes are already prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, such a law will establish a legal precedent that leads inexorably to a range of other "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" laws. "Heterosexism" will be placed alongside racism and sexism as a social evil to be stamped out at all costs. A number of tragic results will follow for those who think that providing cultural incentives for homosexual practice or transgenderism is a bad thing. Some of these tragic results will occur in a very short space of time; others will happen within a few years to a decade.

Here is a sample of twenty-five things that are likely to happen if "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" are made specially protected civil rights classifications in the legal code: 

  1. Large fines and eventually jail time for anyone who publicly speaks out against homosexual activity or transgenderism, even as a minister, if the state determines that one's message arouses people to hate homosexual or transgendered persons. This includes messages that cite Scripture or refer to studies that show higher incidences of promiscuity and disease among homosexually active men.

  2. Suspension without pay from one's place of employment and even outright termination if one declares in any way one's opposition to homosexual practice or transgenderism, even if, as a white-collar employee, one makes such a declaration in a "letter to an editor" outside the domain of the workplace; moreover, one will have to pay the court costs of his persecutors.

  3. Termination from one's job if one does not support "coming out" celebrations or "gay pride" observances in the workplace, or if one does not attend mandatory "sensitivity" or "diversity" training sessions that espouse acceptance of homosexuality.

  4. Large fines if one owns a business and does not allow GLBT ("gay," lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered) activists to make use of the business's services to advance the GLBT agenda (e.g., if a privately owned print shop refuses to print materials for homosexual advocacy); moreover, having to pay the court costs of the government agency that prosecutes the case.

  5. Corporations having to institute affirmative-hire programs for GLBTs as a necessary precaution against potential federal or civil lawsuits for "sexual orientation" discrimination.

  6. Forced indoctrination of children as young as kindergarten in the public school systems into the acceptability of homosexual and transgendered behavior and the labeling of their parents' contrary religious views as "bigotry" and "hatred," through required readings, "GLBT studies," and mandatory attendance at special diversity convocations or diversity workshops; also, mandatory "sensitivity training" for all teachers on the value of sexual orientation diversity.

  7. Even parochial schools being required to accept "gay prom dates" and "gay clubs."

  8. Home-schooled children not being allowed to receive certification if their parents do not teach a curriculum that incorporates appreciation for "sexual diversity."

  9. Loss of federal funds, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds for student loans, for any Christian college or seminary that does not hire homosexually active teachers, or that forbids students to engage in homosexual practice, or that allows a teacher at its institution to speak against homosexual practice.

  10. Ultimately, the threat of loss of accreditation for Christian colleges that do not condone homosexual behavior and transgenderism.

  11. Students and employees required to get counseling for the alleged mental health condition of "homophobia" or risk expulsion.

  12. Imposition of national gay marriage by the courts, through appeal to this newly formed federal civil liberties category of "sexual orientation."

  13. Being forbidden by a judge in a separation or divorce settlement from ever speaking against homosexual practice to one's child if one's ex-partner or spouse is openly homosexual.

  14. Having one's child (whether a foster child, adopted child, or, eventually, one's biological child) removed from one's house if the parent opposes the child's declaration of homosexual identity and activity.

  15. Private civic organizations, as well as Christian camps and retreat centers, being fined or shut down if they do not allow their facilities to be used by persons or groups for homosexual activities (e.g., to host a "wedding" by a homosexual couple or for a meeting of a "gay choir").

  16. Fines for any person responsible for a newspaper ad critical of homosexual practice or transgenderism, even if the advertisement merely quotes Scripture; also, fines for the newspaper that prints it.

  17. Fines for any persons with rooms for rent in their home (e.g. a bed & breakfast) if they refuse to rent to a homosexual couple intent on having homosexual sex on the premises.

  18. Mayors taken to court for refusing to declare Gay Pride Days in their cities and being forced to declare such celebrations.

  19. Loss of charitable status for churches that seek to influence their members to oppose pro-homosex legislation or that refuse to marry homosexual persons.

  20. Fines and/or loss of license for any broadcasting corporation that criticizes, or allows its broadcasting facilities to be used for criticism of, homosexual practice over the airwaves.

  21. Adoption and foster agencies forbidden to give any priority to heterosexual married couples over homosexual couples on the grounds that such priority would be discriminatory.

  22. Refusing the Boy Scouts and Salvation Army the use of public facilities because of their opposition to homosexual practice and transgenderism; moreover, censuring professionals who support such organizations in their private lives (e.g., prohibiting judges from involvement in any organization that "discriminates" on the basis of "sexual orientation").

  23. Banning from university campuses Christian organizations that disapprove of homosexual practice (e.g., Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade).

  24. Making it illegal for members of mental health professions to counsel persons against a homosexual life.

  25.  Eventually special civil rights protection for other "sexual minorities" who can claim oppression for their "orientation": 'polysexuals' (those who are in multiple partner unions), participants in adult consensual incest, and perhaps even 'pedosexuals' (persons sexually oriented toward young adolescents or children).

Some will claim that this is an inflammatory list and that these sorts of things can't and won't happen in the United States. Yet many of these tragic results have already taken place in Canada, Scandinavia and the lowland European countries, and even in parts of the United States. For a nice summary of what has already happened in Canada go to (written by a persecuted Canadian teacher). For a much more detailed presentation see Hans C. Clausen, "The 'Privilege of Speech' in a 'Pleasantly Authoritarian Country': How Canada's Judiciary Allowed Laws Proscribing Discourse Critical of Homosexuality to Trump Free Speech and Religious Liberty," Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 38 (2005): 443-504 (go here for a summary, here for pdf copy, and here for html version). For references to events in the United States and other parts of the world see my online articles at and, for more documentation, (pp. 10-18); also, online articles by Robert Knight at and For a more detailed presentation of events through 2001-2 see Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003). For a critique of hate-crime laws generally see James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter, Hate Crimes: Criminal Law and Identity Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

In short, making "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" specially protected civil rights classifications of the federal government will, in the end, make opposition to, and even reservations against, homosexual practice and transgenderism the legal and moral equivalent of virulent racism and sexism. Those who espouse it will be subject to the same attenuation of their civil liberties that is currently imposed on racial and sexist bigots. Think of the kind of future your children will face if you do not act to stop such legislation. Then act. 



Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of New Testament

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary


For an exchange with a "loving" critic of this Open Letter click here.


  2005 Robert A. J. Gagnon