My first reaction to George Will's column in this morning's Indianapolis Star was something along the lines of "George, you like to posture as a sophisticated, world-weary intellectual--and you've been taken in by another urban legend!"
The gist of Will's complaint was that pro-gay political correctness was turning opinions into "hate speech." Now, I'm no fan of laws against hate speech. In a free country, everyone is entitled to his/her opinions, and entitled to express them, no matter how stupid, scurrilous or unwise I might think those opinions are. But Will had his facts wrong. Worse, he was more or less parrotting part of an "Action Alert" issued by the notoriously anti-factual American Family Association.
Which is where the invaluable Snopes.com comes in.
Snopes sets out the entire "Action Alert," which purports to describe the pending Hate Crimes Prevention Act as a measure that "would make it a hate crime for pastors and churches to speak out against homosexuality." The "Alert" references the same California lawsuit described by Will in his (equally inaccurate) column, as well as other "evidence" of increasing "censorship" of religious speech.
Snopes characterizes the AFA's descriptions--politely--as "gross and misleading distortions."