Court: First amendment protects "hate group" label

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Posted at 10:26 AM, Sep 20, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge says a liberal advocacy group has a First Amendment right to call a Christian ministry a hate group for its opposition to homosexuality.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson threw out a lawsuit filed by the Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries Media Inc. against the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Alabama.

The ministry sued the law center, Amazon and others in 2017 because it wasn't included in a program that lets Amazon customers donate to nonprofit groups.

The suit says the refusal was because the law center had labeled the ministry a hate group for its stance against homosexual behavior.

The judge ruled Thursday that the liberal watchdog group has a free-speech right to make the claim. His ruling didn't address whether the ministry is a hate organization.