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Government wins House of Commons vote on anti-gay hate speech

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  1. I remember in the early 80’s when we had all those comedians who would smoke a lot on stage, and tell racist jokes. Of Course their careers where to be soon over. I also remember at the time the same arguments about how comedy would never be the same if we stopped these kind of jokes, but comedy lived on, and we had new comedians such as black adder and so on, who did not need to tell racist jokes in order to get a laugh. I remember Joe Brand once said “if a comedian needs to tell racist jokes on stage for laughs, then they should not be a comedian” Today we find ourselves back in the same place, Do comedians really need to tell homophobic jokes on stage to get a laugh?

    As for Christopher Biggins, He has been totally used by the Mail newspaper. He should never of written anything for that homophobic newspaper, he is a fool! Christopher you where totally used in order to perpetuate the Mails homophobic views? And you fell for it, was the money that important to you Christopher. Lastly, Christopher you are just an old man. What do you really have to say for the gay youth of today?, and what gives you the right to speak for anyone else but your self. You are a fool, and will be remembered as such!

    If a comedian can not be funny without telling a homophobic joke, then they should not be a comedian!

  2. “The Coroners and Justice Bill is being used to remove an amendment to legislation passed last year that allowed the “discussion or criticism” of sexual practices last year.”

    Good. I hope that stops the fundamentalists from spouting their crap because, like Ladele, all their supposed ‘morality’ stuff only seemed to apply to gay people. That’s what gets me – along with the fact that they constantly talk of WHO I am as being a lifestyle. It’s not.
    I was thinking about Chris Moyles last night and what I find disgusting about his ‘jokes’ is that I think they hide a dislike, a distaste of LGBT people. No-one would mind a harmless joke made with good intent, but many of the homophobic comedians give the very strong impression that they despise or laugh at gay people.
    When I complained to the BBC about the offensive comments regarding Lindsay Lohan and her girlfriend, their reply was that it was “just a joke”. I’m sure they wouldn’t have used that excuse to defend racist comments, so maybe now abuse against LGBT people will finally be treated the same.

  3. I’m confused by this article. Is it an anti gay-hate thing, or an anti-gay hate thing?
    If it’s an anti gay-hate thing, then I’d say it should have been done years ago. I don’t care about it imposing on freedom of speech, because there’ far more important things, like people knowing that homophobia’s wrong.
    If not, then…it’s as if the government wants us to be victims of homophobia.
    And what’s Christopher Biggins going on about? He especially shouldn’t be making gay jokes, the idiot.

  4. I never quite know what to make of this. I agree in principle that homophobic hate speech should be treated the same as racism, but the questions about what constitutes hatespeech and what constitutes a mild ribbing are somewhat ambiguous. I wouldn’t want people to go to jail just for impersonating someone camp for example, but then there is a fine line between laughing with and laughing at minority groups as Chris Moyles himself has just proved.
    I linked to philosopher John Stuart Mill’s definition of freedom of speech before… it highlights why it’s not as clearcut as people tend to think.
    Members of Westboro Baptist Church have been specifically banned from entering Canada for hate speech. In “On Liberty” (1859) John Stuart Mill argued that “…there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered.” Mill argues that the fullest liberty of expression is required to push arguments to their logical limits, rather than the limits of social embarrassment. However, Mill also introduced what is known as the harm principle, in placing the following limitation on free expression: “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others”

  5. I find it hard to believe that no where in your article does it mention that David Cameron voted AGAINST offering gay, lesbian and bisexual people equality under the law.

    The press really need to do more to show the real voting record of the Conservative party on gay rights – 75% of them vote against gay equality! That isn’t a new gay friendly Conservative party – it’s the same old Tories!!!

  6. Fool Christopher Biggins said “Showbiz, camp theatrics and dazzling wit helped to pave the way for gay rights.” Rubbish. The drag queens strutting their stuff in grotty little back-of-suburbia pubs and camp actors poncing around as Mother Goose and Widow Twanky did NOTHING towards gaining all the pro-gay legislation that has been passed. The people who have been responsible for all the pro-gay legislation that has been passed have been serious gay and lesbian activists, beavering away with their sleeves rolled up in a very businesslike manner in the world of serious politics.

    Biggins and his like are fooling themselves in thinking we have all the equality we have a right to. They live in an artificial bubble. Biggins boasts of being accepted at lavish parties with the likes of Joan Collins. I’m sure all the sparkling celebrities enjoy his camposity, his willingness to diminish himself as the camp queen, the camp joker. But let Biggins go and live on an estate in South London or North Manchester with his boyfriend, in a council flat, and he’ld discover a very different reality.

    I have two gay friends who are of the same mind as Biggins. However, they live in a wealthy gated community in Maida Vale / St. John’s Wood, close to Regent’s Park, North London. Their home is worth £1.5 million. They are protected by a battery of CCTV cameras. They have NO CONCEPT of how the average gay or lesbian person is treated in the UK today. Their money allows them to live in a protected bubble.

  7. Nick Herbert MP 25 Mar 2009, 1:12pm

    Richard, you are wrong about David Cameron’s stance. The Conservative leadership SUPPORTED the offence of inciting hatred against gay people. But we also said it was important to ensure that the criminal law did not cover situations where people say things that you and I might not like, but come under the heading of what Stonewall described as “temperate criticism” which really shouldn’t be outlawed in a free society. This isn’t an easy balance to strike, and I think that Parliament could have come up with a better drafted amendment – I don’t like the wording very much – but it’s simply not true that Conservative MPs were voting against gay equality. Neither I, not Alan Duncan, nor Greg Barker – all gay Conservative MPs – would have voted as we did last night if we thought that. Nor for that matter would David Cameron, who let’s remember made a brave stance at a Party Conference speech in support of gay ‘marriage’ – the first time any party leader has ever done so. There’s certainly a place for a hate crime law to protect gay people, as I said in a speech last year – see Hope this clarifies the position. Nick Herbert MP

  8. OOh Eddy – remember it was the drag queens in New York who had the guts to stand up to the police at the Stonewall riots!

    I agree with your general thrust though. There is a generational thing going on here I think. Much as I love Biggy he of that generation of men, as indeed I am, who lived through the criminilisation era and who seemed to think that if they were entertaining and kind and no trouble then people would accept them. That only works to a point and gives absolutely no protection in law. The Mail and others will constantly play the ‘its only a harmless joke’ card. The legislation is not about harmless jokes ( as the Mail well knows) but giving protection to the hate so often spouted by them and others.

  9. Brian Burton 25 Mar 2009, 3:57pm

    Well I look at it this way: Masses of legislation is unworkable unless it is constantly Policed. I have no doubt this Bill will end up in the long grass.

  10. Stuart Neyton 25 Mar 2009, 5:35pm

    “Five Conservative MPs voted with the government and in favour of anti-gay hate legislation.”

    I think this is wrong, the public whip reports only one conservative, John Bercow, voting with the government.

    Just shows how shameful the new tories are.

  11. Nick Herbert MP 25 Mar 2009, 6:02pm

    Richard and Stuart – the Conservative frontbench SUPPORTED the new offence of inciting gay hatred. We believed, however, that it was important to ensure that what Stonewall called “temperate criticism” was not criminalised. However much you or I might dislike such criticism, we should take care not to bring essentially harmless comment within the scope of the criminal law. That’s what the amendment was about. I didn’t like the wording much, and I think Parliament could do better, but it’s important to strike the right balance here. There’s no way that I or Alan Duncan – as gay MPs in the Shadow Cabinet – would have supported this stance if we felt that it was remotely homophobic or against gay equality. Nor, for that matter, do I believe would David Cameron. He was, after all, the first party leader to speak at a party conference about the value of gay ‘marriage’. I gave a speech on last year about hate crime where I tried to suggest the right balance in this area, but firmly supported a new offence of inciting gay hatred. See I hope that this will reassure you. Nick Herbert MP

  12. This is going to ping-pong in the lords and be difficult to pass when it comes down to it. not over yet…

  13. when it comes down to it. not over yet…

  14. this is going back to the lords .. its not over yet

  15. I would be happy to do without all this if it were not for the fact that religion already has such protection. As things stand we can be attacked by scripture waving hateful nutters who are then protected from any response from us.

    Of course, it is an argument for another day as to why mere ideas such as religion have any protection at all. It is intrinsic qualities that need protection. Human rights are for humans, not their beliefs.

  16. There is no wriggle room; racism and homophobia MUST be treated the same. End of story.

  17. Why all this irrelevant talk about ‘jokes’. That is nothing to do with the purpose of the Bill. I hardly think that camp humour is going to disappear, and I think this should have been made clearer.

  18. Sorry Mr. Herbert, your entire comment is a clever non sequitur used by those who hope to defeat this by making absolutely false statements about what the law will and will not do. Any idiot knows that there is a difference between comedy and hate speech. At least any idiot SHOULD know the difference.

    Here’s the bottom line. Two simple questions: Are you and your fellow conservative MPs in the Commons willing to amend the laws protecting religion and race so that there are exceptions similar to the ones you support for the anti-gay hate laws? Do you believe that anti-gay hate speech is equivalent to racist hate speech and/or religious hate speech and does it deserve the same level of criminal prosecution with no more and no less exceptions?

  19. It’s clear to me that the only difference between American Republicans and English Tories is that the Tories have learned to be more discreet with their anti-gay agenda. They smile and say they love the gays when the cameras are on them but their stomachs are churning with disgust deep inside and it comes out everytime there’s an actual vote on a gay issue in the House of Commons. Come to think of it, they’re like American Democrats!

    And sorry Mr. Herbert, just because you’re a gay Tory apologist doesn’t make your party act or seem any more tolerant. We have gay Republicans in America who try to sell the same old conservative snake oil in this country. You’ve just gotten better at your act over there than our Tories have over here.

    Until your party walks the walk instead of just talking the talk, you will never be anything more than the anti-gay party that, try as they might, can’t pull themselves into the 21st century.

  20. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Mar 2009, 10:25am

    Although I am uneasy about the scope of this legislation and the potential it may have to be used in ways now intended, in view of the way that Labour have mis-managed to economy we are ging to need all the legal protection we can get.

    Its like we’re all about the old miner train at Alton Towers and Mr McGoo is at the wheel, as we rollercoaster towards depression and economic oblivion. Anything to do with equality is going to be straight down the pan as society turns on itself in the struggle to provide an income.

    We have already started to see the rise in popularity of the BNP and Chancellor Brown has waded in with that familiar rallying cry, “British jobs for British people!” – oh, and f*ck the EU and all the benefit we get from its free trade agreements!

    We can kiss goodbye to all of those long ago dreamt up ideas of an egalitarian Europe, all men (and women) equal, and respect for others. Disabled, black, gay, lesbian, bit of an accent, looks like he’s had a good holiday – we’re all going to be targets – so I think its fair to say we should be expecting of deluge of hate speech coming our way and no doubt all the Labour trolls on here will somehow spin that round to being the fault of the Tories.

    The Tories wanted this bill worded differently. That does not mean to say that they didn’t want to offer lesbians and gays protection from harassment. It’s about time people wised up a little bit to how government works – it is the ignorance of the electorate at large that has allowed us to get into the sorry state the country is now in.

    We are heading towards a fascist state with this government attempting to pass some horrendously draconian legislation (and sometimes succeeding) and no one is batting an eyelid. We have police on the streets stopping and searching without due cause, an enabling act, last introduced by Adolf Hilter, 20% of the world’s electronic surveillance he in the UK, attempts to remove the right to trial by jury, and against the advice of the security services attempts to extend the captivity of terror suspects for god knows how long.

    And don’t even get me started on the corruption ….

    To cap it all, I now get clapped in chains if I call my best mate a daft queen for putting two sugars in my tea.

  21. Sister Mary Clarence 26 Mar 2009, 10:45am

    Oh, and why is it that so many Americans purport to tell who we should and shouldn’t be voting for over here? The American news networks and more partisan that Cuba or Russia during the Cold War, hence their utterly distorted view of the world – which incidentally isn’t flat.

  22. Much of what appears on this board could well be viewed as hate speech on the grounds of religion, under laws passed in 2006. I opposed those laws, because I think anybody should be able to criticise religious groups as much as they please, even hatefully (hi, Flapjack!). I oppose this law on the same basis. Either you support free speech, or you do not. Trying to reduce public discourse to some bland and inoffensive train of government-sanctioned platitudes is not only sinister, it is doomed to failure. And it will not succeed in making anyone safer.

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