Melon Farmers Original Version

Gay Hate Law in the UK

Christian MPs and ban on anti gay speech

11th July

Update: Unilateral Free Speech...

Nutters happy at retaining exemption allowing continued whinges at gays

The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its attempt to repeal a free speech protection from a sexual orientation 'hatred' law.

Peers voted by 186 to 133 to keep the protection in place. The matter will be passed back to the House of Commons where MPs voted for repeal.

The protection makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct or encouraging people to refrain from such conduct is not a crime.

The Government says the protection is not necessary, insisting that the homophobic hatred offence would not catch the expression of such beliefs.

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: Genuine supporters of free speech will be pleased with this result. Democracy depends on the freedom of people to challenge ideas, to dispute with each other, to contend for what they believe. Too many Christians have already been intimidated by over-zealous police action because they gave voice to their views on sexual ethics. Surely the world is big enough to allow all sides to express their beliefs about sexual behaviour without fearing a knock on the door from the police. [But I wonder of he is so keen to defend free speech when it is religion that is being criticised]


9th July

Update: Freedom of Preach...

Christians petition to be able to continue hating their neighbours

A petition signed by 20,000 Christians across the UK was handed in yesterday to Buckingham Palace, No 10 Downing Street and the House of Lords. Petitioners believe Government plans, contained in Clause 61 of the Coroners and Justice Bill to be voted on this week in the House of Lords, will effectively gag Christians from openly explaining what they believe the Bible has said about sexual conduct for more than 2,000 years.

The petition also drew attention to the plans of a small group of Peers who are trying to legalise assistance with suicide by tabling amendments to the same Bill. (Editor's note: this amendment was defeated last night in the Lords by 194 votes to 141).

Christian Concern for our Nation, sister organisation to the Christian Legal Centre, which has represented many Christians in high profile cases where employers have denied Christians the right of freedom of speech on moral issues, co-ordinated the Petition, signed by 20,000 individuals, to draw attention to what they describe as the devastating consequences to Christian witness if the Coroners and Justice Bill goes through Parliament as it stands.


5th January

Update: Hatred of Gay Hatred Censorship...

Nutter opposition to growing support for gay hatred legislation

Religious MPs have submitted an amendment to enable religions to continue preaching against homosexuality:

Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion of, criticism of or expressions of antipathy towards, conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct relating to that orientation.

Pink News reports that the amendment is almost certain to be defeated as the homophobic incitement proposal has gained cross-party support.

In an interview with published today, the Lib Dem spokesperson on Justice David Heath said: We (the party) have been convinced for some time that there is, first of all a reservoir of extreme prejudice against gay people. Secondly, prejudice is one thing, having it manifest itself as attacks, in one form or another, is something that we should be very concerned about. I am convinced by the evidence that there is a real problem. That's why, as far as I'm concerned, the case is proven for having something of this kind. Anyone who is expressing themselves in a reasonable way, even if what they're saying is wholly abhorrent to most right thinking people, will not be get caught under this law, unless what they're saying is an incitement to hatred against a whole class of people.

Stonewall Chief executive Ben Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin: We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation.

Justice minister Maria Eagle has also confirmed that Christians will continue to have the right to express their homophobic views: If you are a preacher and on Sunday morning you tell your sermon of your beliefs and the beliefs of your denomination about gay people then that's different to going and standing outside a gay club and using threatening words and behaviour . The intent is the key. That is very clearly unacceptable and that's where we are pitching the offence.

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