Thursday, January 15, 2009


Government bid to kill free speech protection

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Government is planning to overturn the crucial free speech protection added last year to the controversial ‘gay hate’ law.

The free speech protection was added to the new offence of ‘incitement to homophobic hatred’ after a late night victory in the House of Lords last May.

It makes it clear that criticising homosexual practice or urging people to refrain from such conduct will not, in itself, be a crime.

But in section 58 of its new Coroners and Justice Bill, the Government is attempting to remove the protection.

The offence of inciting homophobic hatred catches any words or behaviour which are threatening and intended to stir up hatred. It carries a maximum seven year prison sentence.

At the time, campaigners argued that no genuine Christian would do anything to fall within that definition.

However, there was strong concern that the new law could be used as an excuse to silence religious views about sexual behaviour.

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