Sunday, January 22, 2006

Anti-Gay Christian Minister Slapped Down By Wisconsin Judge

An anti-gay Christian minister is paying a big price in Wisconsin for his hate speech against gays. Rev. Grant Storms, a Louisiana Christian fundamentalist minister and radio talk show host, stepped up his anti-gay bigotry while speaking to a Wisconsin Christians United event in Milwaukee in 2003. At one point in his speech, Rev. Storms said:

God has delivered them into our hands . . . boom boom boom . . . there's 20! Caching! Glory, glory to God.

Action Wisconsin, a gay civil rights organization, reacted appropriately to Storms remarks. It issued a press release in which it asserted that Storms advocated murdering gays in his hour-long speech at the conference Action Wisconsin dubbed “International Conference on Homofacism.”

Storms hired an attorney and sued Action Wisconsin, alleging that the group defamed him by asserting that he had advocated the murder of gays. Slapping down the minister of hate, a Wisconsin judge ruled that it was reasonable to conclude that Storms had advocated the murder of gays and threw out his frivolous lawsuit, ordering him and his attorney to pay Action Wisconsin $87,000 for the attorneys’ fees and costs it incurred in defending the suit. Judge Patricia McMahon, in reaching her ruling that the press release accurately quoted Storms said:

[The press release offered] "a rational interpretation of Storms' speech . . . At no time did he tell his listeners that his words should not be taken literally. On the undisputed facts in this case, no reasonable jury could find actual malice by clear and convincing evidence . . . The law of defamation in Wisconsin is not complicated.

Those of us who label these anti-gay bigots on the Christian right for what they truly are can be comforted by Judge McMahon’s ruling.

No comments: