House Approves Hate Crimes Bill

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Congress voted Thursday to extend current hate crimes protection to homosexuals-- putting the measure attached to a must-pass military spending bill one step closer to becoming law.

Democrats added the controversial legislation to the defense spending bill also up for vote.  It passed by a 281-146 vote.  The Senate vote is expected soon.

If passed, the bill will give federal prosecutors the okay to intervene in cases of violence against people because of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Republicans tried to strike it from the Defense Authorization Act, but the effort failed.

Supporters say the legislation will protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people from being the targets of violent crimes.
    
However, critics are concerned about what it means for preachers who teach against homosexuality.

Click play to watch CBN News White House Correspondent John Jessup's report.  Also, pastor and lawyer Bishop E.W. Jackson spoke with CBN News about concerns Christian leaders have about the bill.  Click here to watch his comments.

"I know it is not politically correct to say that certain lifestyles are not condoned by the Bible, but in this day those of us who are leaders in the faith community got to make a choice to be biblically correct or politically correct," Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., pastor of Hope Christian Church in Maryland, said earlier this year at an anti-hate crimes bill press conference on Capitol Hill.

"I believe if we are biblically correct we will impact the nation."
    
Republican senators raised similar concerns when the legislation was attached to the Senate version of the defense authorization bill, but it still passed.

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