After a failed attempt at passing “hate crimes” legislation, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., is trying to attach an amendment favored by homosexual-rights activists to another bill, an activist group warns.

Kennedy sought to pass the controversial legislation – adding “sexual orientation” to the hate-crimes law – through the “Child Safety Act,” but this time the vehicle is “The Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005,” which deals with federal criminal procedures, says Concerned Women for America.

The group says: “Mr. Kennedy may have gotten the word that many people have been warning the Senate not to add his amendment to the Senate version of ‘The Child Safety Act,’ so he appears to be trying to slip it in under the radar.”

That strategy worked in the House of Representatives in September, CWA says, when a hate crimes amendment by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., adding “sexual orientation” and expanding federal power was rushed through the House in 40 minutes.

The House amendment to the Children’s Safety Act – which, among other things, creates a national website for child sex offenders and stipulates that sex felons face up to 20 years in prison for failing to comply with registration requirements – passed 223-199. Thirty Republicans, 192 Democrats and one Independent voted to add the “sexual orientation” language, while 194 Republicans and five Democrats voted no.

Current “hate crimes” law includes stiffer penalties for federal offenses when the attacker is motivated by the actual or perceived race, religion or ethnic background. The Conyers provision adds to that list sexual orientation, gender and disability.

CWA’s Robert Knight was stunned the House took up the vote with little attention.

“We had no notice that this was happening,” Knight said in an e-mail announcing the action. “The only positive thing I can say is that this was a recorded vote.”

The bill itself was approved by a 371-52 vote in the House.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, argues “criminalizing thoughts as well as actions, and creating special categories of victims, are contrary to our entire system of laws.”

“Furthermore, granting special protections based on one’s ‘sexual orientation’ has repeatedly been rejected by Congress,” he said. “It is shocking that a bill designed to protect children from sexual predators is now being used to protect the sexual preference of homosexuals.”

CWA notes that under Pennsylvania’s newly enacted hate-crimes law, 11 Christians were arrested and jailed overnight last year for singing and preaching in a Philadelphia public park at a homosexual street festival.

Five, including a 17-year-old girl, each were charged with five felonies and three misdemeanors and faced possible 47-year prison sentences before a judge dismissed the case.

But the judge reasoned unpopular speech such as that expressed by Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan is protected, upholding the free-speech right of the Christians but placing it in the same category as fringe groups.

“Homosexual activists have redefined any opposition to homosexuality as ‘hate speech,'” CWA says. “Laws already criminalize speech that incites violence. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which any incident involving a homosexual can be blamed on people who have publicly opposed homosexual activism.”

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