President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill into law during a White House ceremony earlier today. The law inserts sexual orientation and gender identity into existing federal hate-crime legislation and expands existing federal legislation, which only allowed the federal government to prosecute hate-crimes that affected federally-protected activities, to now permit the federal government to prosecute individuals previously tried by state courts.
Not only is this new law a threat to the free speech of any who oppose homosexual behavior, but it is also a dangerous expansion of the power of the federal courts, allowing them to retry individuals previously acquitted or found guilty of ordinary crimes by state courts. It threatens both protections against double jeopardy and the power of independent state courts. Read more about the legal repercussions of the new law here.