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State Supreme Court Hears Argument in a Hate Crime Case

Steward Butler
AP Photo/Chris Tilley

The state's Supreme Court has heard arguments on whether a former Marshall University football player should be charged with a hate crime under West Virginia law.Steward Butler

The court heard arguments Tuesday to determine if Steward Butler should be charged with a hate crime in connection with a 2015 attack on two men seen kissing.

Cabell County assistant prosecuting attorney Lauren Plymale argued in court that sexual-orientation discrimination should fall under the West Virginia code banning sex discrimination. She says Butler was enraged because of his own gender expectation that men shouldn't kiss each other.

Elbert Lin, solicitor general for the state Attorney General's Office, argued sexual orientation and sex are distinct concepts that have differing meanings.

A ruling is expected later this year.

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