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Federal Court Throws Out Liberty Counsel’s “Hate Group” Defamation Suit Against GuideStar

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GuideStar, the charity-information site, scored a major victory as a federal court ruled it was in legal bounds to put a hate label on a nonprofit’s profile. A federal judge in Virginia dismissed a lawsuit against GuideStar pursued by the conservative Christian legal-defense group Liberty Counsel.

Judge Raymond Jackson of the Federal District Court in Norfolk, Va., however, said the designation was “an informative statement” and “not commercial speech” in his ruling— and rejected Liberty Council’s claim that its business was affected. Mr. Jackson also dismissed the legal group’s defamation claim.

The nonprofit information site said it backed away from the labels after its staff members had faced threats to their personal safety from opponents of the labels.

Said Liberty Counsel HATE GROUP leader Matt Staver:

“The GuideStar publication was designed to inflict financial harm because its purpose was to affect the financial transactions of the public. The SPLC false label has become discredited and it has proven to be dangerous as history has shown with the attack against Family Research Council. This false label applied to non-violent and law-abiding groups must stop,” said Staver. Liberty Counsel is considering an appeal of the decision.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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