Liberty Counsel is appealing the dismissal of a lawsuit against the online charity resource GuideStar alleging the non-profit legal group and other conservative organizations were defamed by a “hate group” designation that originated with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A defender of traditional marriage, including in the same-sex marriage case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Liberty Counsel charged GuideStar violated the federal Lanham Act, as well as state statutes, by publishing false claims in a commercial setting.
Last month, a federal judge in Virginia rejected the complaint, ruling the SPLC designation did not meet the act’s requirement that the message in question have a commercial purpose. The judge concluded the SPLC “hate group” designation was “an informative statement” and “not commercial speech.”
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