WASHINGTON, September 15, 2005 ( – With all eyes on John Roberts’ Senate confirmation hearings, the House of Representatives passed a “hate crimes” measure Wednesday that would grant the victims of crimes allegedly motivated by bias – including bias based on “sexual orientation”– greater protection than other victims of violence. The measure passed by a vote of 223 to 199 after it was attached as an amendment to HR 3132, the “Children’s Safety Act.”

The amendment to the Act, sponsored by Michigan Democrat John Conyers, adds “sexual orientation” to federal “hate crimes” law. Thirty Republicans joined 192 Democrats and one Independent in voting for the “hate crimes” amendment, thereafter voting to pass the full bill.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins condemned the “stealth” measure. “Criminalizing thoughts as well as actions, and creating special categories of victims, are contrary to our entire system of laws,” he said. “Furthermore, granting special protections based on one’s ‘sexual orientation’ has repeatedly been rejected by Congress. It is shocking that a bill designed to protect children from sexual predators is now being used to protect the sexual preference of homosexuals.”

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) urged the Senate to reject any “hate crimes” language in its version of the Children’s Safety Act. “The GOP-controlled House seems more interested in rewarding the homosexual lobby and following a left-wing liberal Democrat like John Conyers than in making sure dangerous laws like the ‘hate crimes’ amendment are defeated,” said Robert Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute. “It’s up to the Senate to safeguard our liberties by rejecting this attempt to give homosexuals more protection under the law than other crime victims. The ‘hate crimes’ law, promoted for years by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), is a major strategic goal of the homosexual activist movement.”

“A similar state law in Pennsylvania led directly to the arrests of 11 Christians in Philadelphia in a public park last year and the felony prosecution of five of those Christians,” Knight explained. “Proponents claim that these laws are about protecting people, but they are really about creating a false new ‘civil rights’ category based on sex behavior, putting into place a system to suppress speech critical of homosexuality, and giving homosexuals more protection under the law than grandma gets.”

The implications of the new bill could be far-reaching, and have repercussions for religious freedom in the U.S.

See Role call of the vote