Legal Beat

Judge Pamela Dembe dismissed all criminal charges against the "Philadelphia Four" on February 17. Charges against seven others were previously dismissed. The four, members of the evangelistic group Repent America, were arrested during a gay-rights fest after using megaphones to proclaim Scripture verses against homosexuality. Joe Infranco of the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the defendants, said the arrests were "an outrageous abuse of power to silence speech that some people didn't like."

Cloning Developments

Ian Wilmut, who cloned Dolly the sheep in 1997, in February received British government permission to clone human embryos to study motor-neuron disease, which kills cells that control movement in the brain and spinal cord. Wilmut and colleagues propose to clone embryos from people who already have the disease. Cloning for research has been legal in the United Kingdom since 2001. In a statement, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said, "Society should not create a caste system of lesser humans to be used for scientific sacrifice. If helping patients is the true aim, adult stem cells continue to show the real promise." However, days later, a United Nations legal panel voted 71-35 (with 43 abstentions) for a complete ban on human cloning. The issue now goes to the General Assembly for a vote on a nonbinding resolution.

Related Elsewhere:

CT's coverage of the "Philadelphia four" includes:

Muzzled Speech | Christians tried for anti-gay preaching. (Feb. 08, 2005)
Weblog: 'Philadelphia Four' Anti-Gay Preaching Case Dismissed | Michael Marcavage becomes just another guy with a bullhorn. (Feb. 17, 2005)

CT's coverage of Åke Green includes:

No Free Speech in Preaching | Swedish pastor sentenced to ...
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