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 PinkNews.co.uk 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.