Jillian Bandes

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in Constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, said that unless speech against such things incited violence, prosecution wouldn’t be possible under HCPA.

“Speech that incites violence is not protected by the Constitution. Speech that does not incite violence is protected by the Constitution. This bill does not change that,” he said.

That didn’t stop Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) from speaking out against HCPA at a conference Tuesday with other members of Congress and Christian leaders. A host of clergy denounced the bill’s potential to censor their speech.

“It’s going to cause at a critical moment in American history a chilling effect on the pulpit where we cannot preach about biblical morality and sexuality,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com