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Court: Anti-‘gay’ assaults not ‘hate crimes’

(ABC NEWS) In a 3-2 decision Tuesday, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that anti-gay assaults are not protected under the state’s hate crime law, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

The decision emerged from the State of West Virginia vs. Steward Butler case, which involves an April 2015 incident during which Butler allegedly directed homophobic slurs at two men he saw kissing on the sidewalk while at a stoplight before getting out of his car and striking both victims in the face with his fist, according to court documents.

On May 21, 2015, a Cabell County grand jury issued an indictment against Butler, charging him with battery and violations of an individual’s civil rights under West Virginia law. Butler challenged those indictments and the applicability of the law to his actions.

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