Hate group wants Supreme Court to allow them to prosecute people who identify them as hate group / LGBTQ nation



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Religious right-wing group asks Supreme Court to let him sue the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for branding it as a hate group because of its anti-LGBTQ advocacy.

In a press release, D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM) calls the SPLC “notorious terrorists” for placing it on the organization’s hate map. For good measure, the group also sued Amazon, which uses the SPLC designation to ban hate groups from its Amazon Smile charity program.

Related: A Mayor And Thousands Of Businesses Asked City Council For Civil Rights Law. The council voted no.

It comes after DJKM sued SPLC for defamation in 2017. The lawsuits against SPLC have been repeatedly dismissed by federal courts on the grounds that they did not meet defamation standards.

A 1964 Supreme Court ruling set a high bar for proving libel. A public figure, of whom DJKM is considered, must prove that the media which brought the accusation knowingly and maliciously published false information.

Unfortunately for DJRM, there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. The group has made the fight against LGBTQ rights the cornerstone of its work for decades. DJKM is named after its founder, who was a popular televangelist in the 1980s and 1990s who fought against LGBTQ rights.

Kennedy approved the comic Homosexuality: legitimate and alternative mode of death; part of the book claims, “we’re all going to DIE because of these gays,” introducing the topic of AIDS.

Kennedy kept the hate drumbeat going into the new millennium. As an opponent of marriage equality, he wrote a book called What’s wrong with same-sex marriage? in 2004, proclaiming “to use scriptures to show what God says about homosexuality and marriage”.

The SPLC also notes a case where Dr Kennedy published a newsletter titled “Sex With Children? Homosexuals say yes! next to pictures of children. The church itself has also promoted conversion therapy for children.

Kennedy died in 2007, but the ministry continued its attacks on LGBTQ rights. Again this year Frank Wright, President and CEO of DJKM, proclaimed that marriage equality is the same as someone who “loves his Volkswagen, [so] he should be able to marry his Volkswagen. (The comment came just days after Dean Trantalis, the gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale – where DJKM’s headquarters are located – honored the group with a proclamation.)

Under normal circumstances, DJKM’s trial would have little chance of success. But in light of the conservative wing of the Supreme Court’s desire to revisit a long-standing precedent for a woman’s right to choose, nothing is out of the question.

The underlying precedent in question here, Times vs. Sullivan, is the bulwark for the First Amendment right to free speech. This is exactly what DJKM – and many other conservatives – would like to see overturned.

“Today, Sullivan no longer acts as a bulwark to protect civil rights ”, DJKM told the Supreme Court in his application to appeal the dismissed actions. “Instead of the shield it was designed for, it is now a sword used to club public figures with impunity while hiding behind this Court’s mistaken view of the First Amendment.”

If this argument succeeds, libel suits would be much easier to succeed, stifling free speech. But of course, that is the goal of the right, at least when it comes to criticizing them and their practices. They don’t want anyone to say bad things about them.

If that means eroding constitutional rights, that’s fine with them – as long as the rules don’t apply to them anyway.

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