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Free speech amendment will stay in homophobia law

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  1. This guy will be free to say and do what ever he likes then:

  2. And we can thank the Conservatives for this. I’ll be writing to my Tory M.P to ask him why race is considered a protected class but not our community especially in light of the recent murders and attacks. The day I see the Conservatives actually advance any legislation friendly to our cause or indeed vote to protect or extend our rights to equality is the day I might consider them as a gay friendly party.

  3. Who are the Lord’s that voted against us?

  4. Robert, ex pat Brit 12 Nov 2009, 2:53pm

    Time to abolish the House of Lords a useless bunch of parasites who do NOT represent the people, they are unelected and therefore should have no say on anything affecting the lives of the people.

    Now that they have achieved this, Cameron will have to reverse the ban on Geert Wilders, Michael Savage and others from entering the UK. Religious cults better be prepared to hear some very unkind speech from us progressives, please or offend. If they can villify us, we too can villify and offend them, with impunity.

  5. Ok, what can we get worked up about next?!!

  6. Mihangel apYrs 12 Nov 2009, 2:58pm

    all those supporters of totally free speech: when they come for you because someone’s god has validated their hatred, feel proud of your moral high ground.

  7. Pumpkin Pie 12 Nov 2009, 3:00pm

    No matter how one feels about freedom of speech, this is still an outrage due to the inequality of not giving equal protection to race and sexuality – both should be treated the same.

    And why the hell is the House of Lords still allowed to do this crap? They need to be permanently disbanded ASAP.

  8. Will the Scouser 12 Nov 2009, 3:10pm

    I don’t see why bigots shouldn’t be allowed to rant and rave about us as much as they like, provided that they don’t incite violence. They’re batting on a losing wicket, and they know it. Let them rip. I’ll enjoy laughing in their faces and thumbing my nose at them.

  9. Here is the transcript from the Debate in House of Commons:

  10. Thank God for sanity, and politics of reason over politics of lobby group.

    Will the Scouser is right – we can talk, thumb noses, and name call anyone we like so long as we don’t incite violence. We can think without asking the state to sanction if our thoughts are suitable and allowable.

  11. That’s some grim reading – didn’t see a single non-detestable Conservative chipping in there, but David Taylor of Labor stood out as at least as bad.

    I’ll give quote of the debate to Lib.Dem. Evan Harris for his own quoting of Linda Smith: “I’m not religious; I get on with everyone.”

  12. andrew flynn 12 Nov 2009, 4:15pm

    @Stewert – you hit the nail on the head. Why isnt there a free speech clause in racial equality legislation? But also why has Parliament not invoked the Parliament Act? Talk about being second class citizens.

  13. Thanks for the link Cleggy. It was an interesting read. Thankfully, the level of debate in the House of Commons is still better and more civil than the comments section here!

  14. Perhaps the answer is to allow people who belong to a minority group to sue for libel if lies are told about that group with a view to maligning them. Extremists do this all the time about gays, to the detriment of anyone who is identifiable as, or believed to be, gay. We’ve seen it in these comment columns with people claiming that being gay is a choice, and using that as the basis for all sorts of prejudicial behaviour. If they truly believe that and have evidence, let them be forced to prove it in court and put it up against the overwheming evidence to the contrary.

  15. Simon Murphy 12 Nov 2009, 4:55pm

    Fair enough – if incitement to hatred against gay people is not an offence then neither is incitement to hatred against religion.

    Mohammed was a paedophile who married a 9 year old.

    Catholic clergy are paedophiles – every last 1 of them.

    Judaism is an immoral lifestyle choice.

    Islam is a backward faith for stupid woman-haters.

    Christianity is the fetishisation of torture

    Hindus should stop shagging cows and start eating them instead.

    It’s my freedom of speech.

    The gloves need to come off. Whenever these moronic cults try to insult us we need to use OUR freedom of speech to condemn them as the woman-hating, paedophiles that they are.

  16. A massive bible burning session outside the Christian Institute’s offices would be a good idea.

  17. Arthur, you can indeed use libel laws if you have been libelled. Thankfully the threshold is high.

    [Ironically, the Captcha phrase is “Bernardo’s” (an Evangelical Christian) and “libeled”. Do you think someone is telling me something!]

  18. “Former
    chief constable, crossbencher Lord Dear, said he had been approached by
    many police officers who backed the defence because it would allow them
    to use discretion and common sense and deal with situations with a
    light touch”.
    So in other words the Police are going to do even less to
    support the gay community!

  19. If this amendment stands, we need another amendment to the amendment, specifying exactly, and I repeat, exactly, what can and cannot be included as “freedom of speech”. Otherwise we are letting homophobes completely off the hook. Is it free speech referring to gay people as sodomites, for example? If so, calling black people niggers should also be viewed as “free speech”, since it doesn’t directly insite any violence, but is offensive to black people. The police will need clarification, otherwise, it will be left up to the indivifual police officer to decide, according to their own judgements. Things like this need to be clarified detail by detail. If these so called lords think this sort of “free speech” sould be “protected”, they are living in cuckooland, and don’t have a clue of why many abuses and attrocities happen.

  20. Simon, you seem to have missed the main point … there *is* now a law against incitement to homophobic hatred where there wasn’t one before. Surely that is something to pleased about. The amendment does not change ANYTHING about the law, it simply clarifies it’s scope.

    And, AdrianT, burning Bibles is going to what exactly. Show them how cross we are that we now have an incitement to Homophobic hatred law. And I presume you will also burn the Koran at the HQ of the Islamic Council?

    Time to move along folks.

  21. Race and sexuality should be treated equally. I’m fed up of being treated like a second class citizen. I’m also sick of people shoving their religion in my face (eg at Pride). I don’t stand outside churches harrassing the congregation as they enter.

    The case of the ‘poor old Christian lady’ visited by the police poves we shouldn’t have this amendment. There’s a huge difference between saying “I interpret the Bible as saying homosexuality is wrong” and calling gay people “sodomites” and saying that they “spread disease”.

    But what gets me most of all is that I was born a lesbian – it’s not a choice. So I don’t appreciate peoople going round saying that I should change. That’s why ‘christians’ keep insisting that being gay is a ‘lifestyle choice’. It’s so they can keep on persecuting us. The sooner some irrefutable proof is found that shows people are born with their sexuality, the better. Not that that would stop some ‘christians, of course.

  22. Why do people write as though being Gay and being Black are mutually exclusive and competinf situations? Some Blacks are Gay, Some Gays are rascist, Many Blacks are homphobes!
    Its impossible to equate them because Skin colour shouts, whilst sexual orientation is neutral.

  23. Simon said:
    *Mohammed was a paedophile who married a 9 year old*.

    Actually, she was 6 when he first took her in but he didn’t consummate things til she was 9 … being the model of restraint that he is!

    *Catholic clergy are paedophiles – every last 1 of them*.

    That’s simply not true of course. A disturbing minority of them were/are.

    *Judaism is an immoral lifestyle choice*.

    Sorry, don’t get this one! Of course Judaism is a bit of a paradox because there is religious Judaism but also ethnic Judaism as well.

    *Islam is a backward faith for stupid woman-haters.*

    It is definitely in need of a reformation and retains many of the cultural norms of the dark ages when it was formed.

    * Christianity is the fetishisation of torture *

    Crucifixion was indeed an instrument of torture but I

    * Hindus should stop shagging cows and start eating them instead.*

    I’m not sure – what’s worse for the cow?!!

    *It’s my freedom of speech*.

    Indeed it is. Aren’t you glad that the free speech clause in the Religious Hatred is there to stop some over zealous fascist slamming you for saying rather childish things.

  24. Niki, of course being gay and being black are not mutually exclusive. Calling gay people sodomites and calling black people niggers are not mutually exclusive either. And none of these offensive terms constitute freedom of speech if you ask me. So that elderly woman, who is also an offender was rightly visited by police officers conscerned with her offense.

  25. Lord Waddington says it’s a waste of time and resources to prosecute an elderly woman for calling gay people sodomites. Who in their right mind would say the same about an elderly woman who called black people niggers? It seems that for him when you reach a certain age, you are free to commit offences. I’m waiting for Lord Waddington to deffend the racist elderly. And Niki, no, I’m not saying being elderly and being racist are mutually inclusive. But you should realise there are elderly people who happen to be racist. And they should not be let off the hook only because they are of an advanced age.

  26. Talking of an advanced age.

    Baroness Paisley of St George’s said: “I have been offended when people have carried placards and shouted out that Jesus Christ is a fag. That has offended not only me; it has offended thousands of Christians.”

    We should make thousands of those placards!

  27. Now it’s getting really silly! Gay, queer, faggots, sodomites, puffs, homos … we need a law to stop people calling us nasty names!! And incidentally, the word for those who practice sodomy is a sodomite – that’s just the way it is.

    My old aunt had a black dog she called Wog … absolutely no malice intent. She should not have been criminalised.

    Does everyone here realise WE NOW HAVE AN INCITEMENT TO HOMOPHOBIC HATRED LAW? There used to have one. Now there is. The amendment does not CHANGE anything about the law – it clarifies it, correctly as far as I’m concerned. People who would have been prosecuted without the amendment still will be. Those who wouldn’t still won’t.

    The amendment was added because some people feared that overly zealous police officers or malicious members of the LGBT community might mis-use the law. Some of the comments here have merely seem to strengthen that point of view, not diminish it.

  28. Tim Hopkins 12 Nov 2009, 6:42pm

    One of the difficulties for the Govt here is that although there’s no free speech clause in the incitement to racial hatred law, there IS a free speech clause in the incitement to religious hatred law. It says that that law does not restrict “discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents.”

    So the Lords who supported the “free speech” amendment for incitement to homophobic hatred were able to say “We’re just treating it the same as religion”. They even numbered their clause “29JA” to match up with the religion free speech clause which is 29J (of the Public Order Act 1986).

    All this applies to England and Wales only by the way. The religious and homophobic incitement laws don’t apply here in Scotland (we have other laws that can be used against most hate speech). In a way I’m glad we don’t have any of this in Scotland, because I think this House of Lords amendment sends a really bad message that it’s OK to say things like “I’m not against people being gay, but I think gay sex is sick and dangerous”.

  29. Tim Hopkins 12 Nov 2009, 6:48pm

    Perhaps I should clarify the above (#29) – I don’t think it should be a crime to say “I’m not against people being gay, but I think gay sex is sick and dangerous”. People should be free to say that kind of thing without criminal sanction.

    But I do think that a law passed as recently as 2008, which says in black and white that that kind of thing is specifically protected free speech, gives a green light to more of it happening, when in fact it is based on bigotry and prejudice, and I would like to see less, not more, expressions of bigotry and prejudice.

    Or to put it another way, people who say this amendment makes no difference to what the incitement law makes illegal are correct, but the law is about more than what it makes illegal – it’s also about the messages sent.

  30. could someone explain how this law will be any good if homphobes can still say what they like. what level of homophobia would need to be evident in order to be prosecuted. let me know so i can report them!

  31. Where is my freedom of speech, huh???

  32. “We should make thousands of those placards!”

    And stand right in front of her house, at various points on her way to her place of work/worship and right in front of them. We should also make her answer publicly if she thinks the use of the word nigger is a matter of free speech. Or is it too much to ask Baroness? She may realise the placards are there according to her own interpretation of “freedom of speech and conscience”. Better still. Why not follow up and write more placards, this time saying baronesses and lords are kkkunts, and spread them around in the same path? Freedom of speech someone? When are they going to realise their masked homophobia is counter productive to society?

  33. Tim Hopkins 12 Nov 2009, 7:13pm

    Dave (#31): The answer is that the new law against inciting sexual orientation hatred is really quite narrow. It can only be used where someone has used threatening language, and they intended to stir up sexual orientation hatred by doing that.

    So to get a conviction, it is necessary to prove that the language used was threatening, and that the person who used it was deliberately intending to stir up hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.

    Not particularly easy to prove the second part especially, which is one reason why Stonewall are expecting very few convictions under this new law.

  34. Tim Hopkins, it’s great to have someone talking in measured tones. The threshold has been set deliberately quite high. But surely that should be the case? It is even higher for inciting religious hatred.

    Is the LGBT community really such a bunch of thin-skinned individuals that there needs to be a law that says we can’t be insulted or offended?

    I need to point out again that this amendment DOES NOT LOWER THE THRESHOLD – it was always set very high. This is not a defeat for the LGBT community. There is now a law protecting everyone from threat or the subject of hate-mongering.

    It can be argued that the original law has set the threshold too high, but to argue that something that clarifies the law and protects the liberty for people to vociferously argue, debate and disagree is surely a good thing in a civilised country. To argue to the contrary is surely the to speak in favour of the Taliban or other theocracies who take a similar point of view!

  35. John(Derbyshire) 12 Nov 2009, 7:38pm

    simon-(no 24)- I was under the impression it was illegal to say all those things about THEM-but they could now quite happily say anything they wanted about us-and that would NOT be illegal? Or have I got it wrong?

  36. Listen to a debate on radio 5 Live:

  37. John (#36) – Yes, you are wrong. Those things are not illegal, and in fact can be found regularly on blogs, forums & comments. It’s not always advisable to say the comments about Mohammed or Islam in certain places if you want to keep your head! They are never very constructive things to say though and generally don’t produce anything useful except antagonism.

    You could probably be had under a public order offence which has a much lower (too low) threshold of causing insult. Generally though the faith communities are quite tolerant of personal insults as long as you don’t profane things they consider Holy. Islam is by far the touchiest just in case you hadn’t noticed!!

  38. I sent this email to my MP via:

    Dear Phyllis Starkey,

    I am VERY angry that the other house feels I am not worthy of protection from hate speech. I guess it ok for organisations like Christian Voice and The Christian Institute to stand outside LGBT events with placards that call us perverts, sodomites, faggots, homos for the LGB and completely remove our humanity by calling us it, he/she and shemales for transsexuals and other trans variant people like myself.

    The fact your government will not use the parliament act to protect us from these bigots including the unelected Lords saddens the LGBT community. It leaves us questioning just how much government wants to give us real equality.

    I guess being in a minority that is 1 in 11,000 of the population means I will always be the dog society kicks. Just look at how the media likes to report trans people.

    But be warned myself and other LGBT people will not vote for any political party that that does not feel we deserve equality and protection against hate crimes.

    You may ask why do we deserve protection?

    Well do you have people shouting abuse at you in the street or supermarket?

    I had that just last night in Tescos, where a group of youths followed me around shouting tranny at me as I shopped. When I complained to a manager he just said it is not against the law so the store would not do anything. This is the same store that members of staff deliberately humiliated a lesbian couple months ago.

    I get refused access to public toilets and changing rooms in shops regularly called sir or he/she and it. I had a doctor and his whole surgery refuse to treat me on religious grounds. A person felt they had the right to grab my crotch in a pub to establish my birth gender.

    The murders of Destiny Lauren and Andrea Waddell in the last two months shows transphobia kills and in the last 12 months 119 trans people are known to of been murdered around the world. Many more have committed suicide like poor Janice in Leicester who decided stepping in fount of a train was more favourable than going back to the harassment on the estate she lived on or the continued struggle for treatment from her PCT and her struggle to find a employment because of the discrimination she faced because she was transsexual.

    This is why we as a transgendered community will come together on the 20th of November for international Transgender Day Of Remembrance(TDOR). It would be nice if government and parliament would endorse TDOR. But it would be even better if Gordon Brown would be the first prime minister to publicly endorse TDOR on the 20th. But I guess as 1 in 11,000 we are not priority votes to win I guess.

    Yours sincerely,

    Abi Christopher (Ms)

  39. These idiots don’t even have to work for their position.
    What gives them the right to vote on things for our country.

  40. Bill Perdue 12 Nov 2009, 8:42pm

    Except for all politicians in the BNP/DUP, lots of Tory politicians and a much smaller number of Labour and Lib Dem politicians and scum like Buju Banton, exactly who should be the targets of anti-hate speech laws?

    It’s the cults. The incessant barrage of hate by right wing priests, roman and anglo catholic, evangelical preachers, islamists and right wing rabbis is the direct and often sole cause of violence against GLBT folks.

    That kind of hate speech has to be suppressed and criminalized. A few years ago an infamous (for getting caught with prostitutes) American televangelist named Jimmy Swaggart said this on one of his nationally broadcast TV circuses:

    ““I’m trying to find the correct name for it…this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men.” Then he added, “I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I’m gonna be blunt and plain: if one ever looks at me like that, I’m gonna kill him and tell God he died.” (cheers and applause)

    How many people died because his hate speech targeted gay men? How many thugs were galvanized into action when his words ‘justified’ their insane craving for violence?

    We’ll never know. But we do know that Oscar Wilde accurately described the situation over 100 years ago:

    “I have no doubt we shall win, but the road is long and red with monstrous martyrdoms.”

    And we know that Swaggarts messages, sometimes disguised and sometimes explicit rain down from radio and TV broadcasts and in churches, chapels, temples and mosques 24/7/365. And we know that when GLBT folks get murdered the cultists, even before they’re accused, are quick to say that they had nothing to do with it. They do that because people aren’t stupid. Lots of people besides ourselves can connect the dots.

    A GLBT program to deal with cults:

    1. Pass and enforce hate crimes and hate speech laws (when the crimes are motivated by racism, homohating, and misogyny) with harsh penalties including jail time and confiscation of assets to compensate victims.

    2. We pay taxes for the cults that propagate hate speech. End all unfair tax exemptions for Cults.

    3. Secularize, without compensation, all cult schools to prevent rapes by priests, imams, rabbis, preachers and other clerical criminals.

    4. Make certain, through laws and regulations that clerics and nuns are not allowed near schools or children without police supervision.

    5. Charge clerics with beings accessories to murder if their hate speech incites violence.

  41. Tim Hopkins 12 Nov 2009, 8:48pm

    Evan (#35): I agree with you about the threshold. Actually it’s the same as for religious hatred (it has to be threatening language intended to stir up hatred) but it is a much higher threshold than there is for racial hatred, where the law also bans abusive and insulting language that it likely to stir up hatred (even if it wasn’t intended to).

    I do disagree with you though when you say that the Waddington amendment is not a defeat. It probably doesn’t affect the scope of the offence, so doesn’t change what is criminal, but it sends an unhelpful message I think. And it is a public defeat, whatever we think the legal effect is, because Stonewall and others campaigned to delete it.

    However I shouldn’t attempt to speak authoritatively on that, seeing as we decided not to campaign for a similar offence in Scotland at all, and we’re not affected by this legislation which is England and Wales only! Other laws, primarily prejudice aggravated breach of the peace, cover threatening hate speech in Scotland. And there’s no free speech exception in those laws, although, like all Scots laws, the European Convention guarantee of free expression applies and ultimately overrides Scots law if necessary.

  42. This is great news!

  43. Tim, I agree that it is being seen as a defeat and the LGBT are acting as though it isa defeat because the 1 sentence amendment was made unnecessarily into THE battle ground. Instead of saying that we have new legislation that gives the LGBT community the same protection as faith communities; protection that’s never had before and protection that isn’t awarded to other vulnerable communities (e.g. the disabled community or gingers or the elderly or political parties!); the battle ground became an amendment that didn’t actual add or take anything away from the meaning or scope of the law, it simply clarified when it should not be applied.

    Here is what that 1 sentence amendment says: “In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

    Are people really saying that the LGBT community should be above “discussion or criticism” or that people shouldn’t be free to “urge us to refrain or modify our conduct”? Isn’t that the nature of a democratic society? And like it or loathe it, isn’t trying to persuade people to ‘convert’ to their religion part and parcel of religious communities (as it is of political debate & persuasion too).

    If it is a defeat it is because the loud mouths have made it so. The LGBT could be celebrating the fact that they have new legislation protecting them, instead there’s wallowing & gnashing of teeth because a sensible clarifying amendment has been adopted that.

  44. Tim Hopkins 12 Nov 2009, 9:36pm

    Evan, I agree that we should be glad that we do (or you do in England and Wales) now have the same level of protection from incitement to hatred as faith communities. Both communities have the protection of an incitement to hatred law with the same threshold, and both laws have a free speech exception. And actually to my mind the religion free speech exception is in a sense worded worse because it explicitly allows abuse and insult! Although I think you’re right that neither free speech exception alters the scope of the related incitement offence, so the offences are equal in strength.

    I would guess that Stonewall will take care over the next days and weeks that people know that overall this is a victory – ie I’m sure that their position would be that it’s much better to have the incitement offence with the free speech amendment, than not have it at all.

    As for whether it was a good idea to go large on a campaign to delete the Waddington free speech amendment, I don’t think I’m in a position to comment specifically on that from here in Scotland. But generally I think that when campaigning for changes in the law, it’s usually better to campaign for what you want, even when you know you may lose, than to not campaign for what you want because you don’t want to lose!

  45. “In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

    . . . . . . . .

    Gay cure therapies are now legitimised rather than stigmatised.

  46. John(Derbyshire) 12 Nov 2009, 10:04pm

    As the Conservatives were the proposers and backers of this amendment- I wonder what else they have up their sleeve for us when they win the next election? You can bet your life the Waddingtons,Howarths,Widdecombes,Grieves,Lee,Taylors,UDP`s etc etc etc ad nauseam-are all busy congratulating themselves-but also looking forward to other ways of “putting the boot in”. God help us all after the next election.This is a sign of things (nasty things) in store for us all.

  47. Tim Hopkins 12 Nov 2009, 10:15pm

    JohnK (#46): I think you’re spot on – the problem here is not the difference the amendment makes to the scope of the incitement offence, or that it makes anything legal that was previously illegal, but that its wording gives a Parliamentary thumbs up to things like ex-gay “therapies” and to those who claim “I’m not prejudiced against gay people, but gay sex is sick and wrong”.

  48. @ Evan 44

    Do you forget that at this very moment, we are already being treated as a second class community? Civil partnerships are nothing less than segregated marriages, for instance. So how does that square with your pseudo-claim that we want to be above “discussion or criticism” or that people shouldn’t be free to “urge us to refrain or modify our conduct”?

  49. Tim, I wish I was not . . . but this is unfortunately what it allows,

    Disturbingly, it is not just the fundamentalist christians who want to cure gays. Professor Philip King(UCL)has conduct many studies which highlight reparative therapy attitudes are still alive and kicking in the two main UK professional bodies for therapists – the BACP and the BPC (British association of counselling and psychotherapy, and the British psychoanalytic council).

  50. Watch this it says it all

  51. It would help if I included the link :)

    Watch this it says it all!

  52. I agree Abi1975

    This will perpetuate further myths about LGBT people
    rather than truths, and in the absence of reality . . . more fear hate and unfortuately deaths.

  53. The Christian Institute were the ones who lobbied for this motion. They are the ones who presented Christians as a poor persecuted miniority under attack. They are the ones who lies to the House of Lords and presented a string of exaggerations and distortions.
    ‘Lying for Jesus as always.’

    The Christian Institute are the ones we should be aiming our venom at.

  54. A link to aim your venom at the Christian Institute

    and a direct link to their presence of face book

  55. I don’t agree with the leap of reasoning lots seem to be making. Are you trying to tell me that there has been a damn of homophobic hatred that has been restrained by the lack of a homophobic hate law, but now there is one it’ll all come pouring out?!

    As I see it, the amendment’s clarifying that people who criticise LGBT sexual behaviour aren’t necessarily hateful, in exactly the same way that people who criticise or insult religious behaviour or beliefs aren’t necessarily being hateful. Surely, for people who love civil liberties, that is a good thing.

    Isn’t ‘venting venom’ a bit of a ridiculous (and slightly ironic) reaction to getting new legislation introduced which protects the LGBT community from threats & hate mongering??!! Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

    Sorry to be the one that keeps pointing this out, but if the law doesn’t go far enough for some of you then that’s a problem with the law – NOT WITH A CLARIFYING AMENDMENT!!! The amendment DOESN’T CHANGE THE SCOPE OF THE LAW.

    I’m bored of pointing that out now! Good night ;o)

  56. There is no leap of reasoning going on here . . . all that is being highlighted is what becomes permisssive with or without the ammendment.

    “In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

    Inlight of the ammendment . . . it becomes clear that Gay cure therapies become more permssive because they are legitimsed rather than stigmatized. . . to mention just one area.

    Attitudes rest on what is permissive or outlawed . . .

  57. If anything is going to incite homophobic sentiment it is the announcement today that Stonewall’s misguided “I’m Gay – Get Over It” poster is going to be plastered all over London’s buses. I am sure that this campaign has contributed to the rising homophobia – it seems almost designed to bait resentment amongst the more unhinged of our aggressors.

  58. Pumpkin Pie 13 Nov 2009, 1:17am

    The fact that sexuality has been given the same protection as religion should immediately set alarm bells ringing. Religion is a choice, sexuality is innate. Sexuality should have the same protection as race, and religion should not.

    This is why this amendment is so insidious: it denies us equality with other biological minorities. It singles us out specifically. I don’t mind debating the merits of freedom of speech, but first we must have equality. Only when these laws affect us all equally should we consider that debate.

    Also, JohnK is exactly right with the conversion therapy fears. The part of the amendment that reads “the urging of persons to […] modify such conduct or practices” is absolutely monstrous. This sort of thing is completely unscientific and extremely harmful. It is unthinkable that authorities should still be allowed to coax the vulnerable to seek out potentially life-destroying brainwashing. Mainstream mental health organizations have already condemned it – allowing it to continue further is barbaric.

  59. Victory for common sense. The gay community have got to get a grip. They have become too sensitive. You cannot change Human Nature. We were never created to accept everything in life. whether race, colour, creed or sexuality. We must learn to accept some flack, jokes, ridicule, criticism etc. Only when it comes to extreme hatred, violence towards us then, yes, we do have a very good reason to take a stand. It is life, and there will always be some sort of vilification or homophobia thrown our way, as we wanted to be part of the society and the world, so we must take some remarks or comments with a grain of salt. Lighten up everybody. Also give it back in return, don’t just take it. Fight back. Eye for an eye or fire with fire.

  60. For my part, I am in favour of free speech. And I guess there are several reasons for that.

    At first, because if people aren’t able to speak their mind, they’re much more likely to express themselves in much less elegant ways. There is no difficulty in separating a homophobic point of view (which is best resolved in free discussion) with somebody inciting homophobic attacks or indeed attacking someone with homophobic insults.

    Secondly, because restrictive laws always make officials over-react, with a ridiculous outcome that is good for no-one.

    Thirdly, because there are gay people who would call any word nasty, any reference to gay people “hate”: no law will ever or should ever satisfy them because they believe their own view of the world is the only legitimate view. There’s somebody in the conversation above who would ban the word “gay” as nasty. Ban the word gay, and you ban me… that is unacceptable!

  61. @ tsuchan 61:

    What words are nasty? Examples should be welcomed, otherwise some police officers will be left wondering if they should act on or ignore reported complaints. Have you noticed that when Lord Waddington mentioned Ms Pauline Howe during his speech in the House of Lords, he conveniently forgot to mention that she described gay people as sodomites in her letter? I wonder what he would do if her letter to the council contained words such as niggers/pakis/yids/dirty jews etc. Would he paint her as a saint who’s being vilified by the system or suddenly flip side the argument? What do you think?

  62. Evan: “Some people feared that overly zealous police officers or malicious members of the LGBT community might mis-use the law.”

    I totally agree. Seeing the general attitude of some right-on types on here, they probably twitch at the curtains all day watching their neighbours, and if someone called them names, they would be round the Police station like a rat up a drainpipe. There should always be protection in place for anyone, but not so tight that every idiot with a chip on their shoulder or vexatious litigant runs around suing somebody because they accused them of using lemon juice to bleach their hair.

    Me sir? Gay sir? Oh Sir, No Sir.

  63. Mihangel apYrs 13 Nov 2009, 10:29am

    Evan et al
    I don’t really care what they call me, having been done over a few times words don’t touch.

    But consider the young teen just realising they’re gay. Homophobia is rife in schools: by letting clergy curse LGBT and call them damned merely empowers the bullies and helps the next generation of haters.

    How many gay kids have killed themselves because of homophobic bullying? This was achance to send a signal – they blew it!

  64. “The fact that sexuality has been given the same protection as religion should immediately set alarm bells ringing. Religion is a choice, sexuality is innate. Sexuality should have the same protection as race, and religion should not.”

    I completely agree, Pumpkin Pie. That’s my major problem with this amendment. Parts of the Bible have been used to justify racism, but we wouldn’t think it right for someone to use the Bible as a defense for racist crap. Yet somehow LGBT people are a fair target.

    It’s not just about ‘religious freedom’, it’s the message it sends out to society in general. That’s what I find so offensive.

  65. “How many gay kids have killed themselves because of homophobic bullying? This was a chance to send a signal – they blew it!”

    Yes, and how many people may have died if this bill gone through and police found them tied up in even more paperwork with their phones ringing 24/7 with calls like “Ooh, my next door neighbour called me a ‘mincer'”, etc. etc. The police are there for our safety, not to swing our handbags for us – we could do that just as well if we had balls, which evidently the moaners on here don’t.

  66. Iris talks about being sick of Christians thrusting their views down her throat at Pride – sorry, at an event where she is thrusting her sexuality and views down other people’s throats on a public street?

    Does she not see a bit of sauce for geese and ganders here? She wants the right to demonstrate about being gay, but not have anyone demonstrate against being gay. Her beliefs and values are more important than those of others.

    If any gay person is beaten up or killed by someone there is, and always been, a criminal sanction. Crimnal law should follow the action, not the reason (some of which we will never know in many crimes).

    A victory free speech

  67. This should have failed
    it shows homophobia is ok if you are religious etc

  68. I think you’ll find it’s the sort of comments on here that’ll incite people to hate & despise the LGBT community more than a few Bible bashers … not coz you’re gay but because it would be hard to find a more whiney-arsed, petulant, victim-mentality pity party almost anywhere else. I wouldn’t mind slapping a few of you myself!

  69. David Griff 13 Nov 2009, 12:09pm

    While I agree that the clause is silly and unecessary, I do not think this can be blamed on the entire idea of an upper house, firstly some blame needs to go to the parties that put the Lords there, personally I think the house of Lords should be politically neutral and appointed from experts of various fields, to fill the hole that is the lack of specialist knowledge in the Commons. Secondly the government can over-rule the House of Lords, that’s the point of the Lords, they’re supposed to be advisory, the Government can’t now just say “Oh dear, the Lords voted to keep it in, never mind, nothing we can do”. All the Lords can do is delay a bill and make recommendations.

  70. \Julian – pride is not like hating others and it’s not about thrusting sexuality either
    Evan – so you blame the victims of homophobia for the violence that is experienced, that makes you look like a loser

  71. It seems that both sides of the free speech debate are open to abuse. This is why it’s always been a philosophical minefield.
    John Stuart Mill IMO came the closest to navigating the extremes of both sides of the argument by creating his tract “On Liberty”.
    The basic idea is that people should be able to say whatever they want to the fullest extent with the caveat that free speech should be withdrawn in the event of inciting actual harm.
    The difficulty with that is who defines what inciting actual harm involves, and when does “I disapprove of gay people” segue into “I hate queers and I think we can all agree if you wanted to go out and lynch one, that wouldn’t be any bad thing”.
    At what point incitement to harm occurs is still a very grey area. Casual homophobia can incite a lynching as easily as casual racism. That all depends on the individual perpetrators.

  72. Mihangel apYrs 13 Nov 2009, 2:03pm

    oh well done Codex: those kids sure should have been made of sterner stuff. I mean if they can’t put up with continuous, nasty comments at an establishment they’re forced into tough luck.

    Obviously too whiney to live.

  73. Robert, ex pat Brit 13 Nov 2009, 3:07pm

    Bill, #41… you’re absolutely right, totally agree with your points. If only we could get them implemented.

  74. “Iris talks about being sick of Christians thrusting their views down her throat at Pride – sorry, at an event where she is thrusting her sexuality and views down other people’s throats on a public street”

    Rubbish. An equivalent would be if I picketed Christian events (which I don’t)and tried to interfere with their running (which I don’t). Ooh, and on a public street, eh? What’s the world coming to? Grow up.

  75. So Iris, you were opposed to Peter Tatchell invading the Christian Synod with his protests, were you, and he should have been prosecuted for being “intolerant” to the Anglican Church?

    Free speech is free speech and long may it continue

    And can someone who runs this blog please sort out the text you have to type in below? It looks like Gordon Brown’s handwriting

  76. “oh well done Codex: those kids sure should have been made of sterner stuff. I mean if they can’t put up with continuous, nasty comments at an establishment they’re forced into tough luck.
    Obviously too whiney to live. ”

    Of course. Codex would probably have a school system where kids could throw insults at each other freely. And he would put the blame squarely on those squirmish poofters, niggers, pakis, yids, etc… Anti-bullying campaigns? No, definitely not Codex business…

  77. If any religious person attempts to criticise or to try to persuade someone who is gay to change his orientation, the simple riposte is to state that such a religious person is mentally ill, in that religious faith is a mental illness. There is no rational refutation of such a statement.

  78. Neville . . . if only it where just Christians who spouting gay cure(Reparative therapies). . . hatred

    Professor of psychaitry Philip King(UCL)has conduct many studies which highlight reparative therapy attitudes are still alive and kicking in the two main UK professional bodies for therapists – the BACP and the BPC (British association of counselling and psychotherapy, and the British psychoanalytic council).

  79. Mumbo Jumbo 14 Nov 2009, 12:19am

    For the record, here is the Lords vote with a party breakdown:

    A familiar tale.

  80. “oh well done Codex: those kids sure should have been made of sterner stuff. I mean if they can’t put up with continuous, nasty comments at an establishment they’re forced into tough luck.

    Obviously too whiney to live”

    Mihangel, I was bullied mercilessly at school and I go through it. No, it wasn’t pleasant, and there were times I wished I was dead, but those are growing pains and unfortunately some of us are dealt a harsh card in life. But you know what? It made me the strong-willed person I am today, and now I do not suffer fools gladly. Would I have wanted thought police looking out for me at every turn? Heck no! In life you tale the rough with the smooth.

  81. Call me a Poofter, now I’m a Superman

  82. Pumpkin Pie 14 Nov 2009, 2:45am

    Religion is a CHOICE, sexuality is INNATE. When you picket a religious meeting you hate an IDEOLOGY, when you picket a gay pride march you hate PEOPLE.

    I don’t give a crap what you guys think about freedom of speech and “thought police”: equality FIRST, freedom SECOND.

    The same laws should be in place for both race and sexuality, WHATEVER those laws are.

    Also, bullying is what made me change my mind about freedom of speech. I used to be such a big proponent of free speech, but I changed my mind when I realised how much bullying hurts people who are less bull-headed than me. Unlike some callous bastards, I don’t think being thin-skinned makes someone worthless, I think kindness and compassion are the greatest traits a human being can possess and I want to protect those who have these traits. Their lives mean far more to me than any hysterical paranoia about thought police ever could.

    I still support free speech, I’ve just come to realise that it doesn’t mean saying whatever the hell you want. Hate speech is never free speech – it is the very antithesis of free speech, devoid of logic and rationality. Hitler never made it into power with sound reasoning and solid arguments, he made it into power by manipulating people’s fear and hatred. This is NOT free speech, this is propaganda. Free speech is about the free dissemination of ideas and of the freedom to argue about these ideas. It is not about giving people the right to shout epithets at people they don’t like.

    Pro-free speech.

    Yes, the line between the two is fuzzy, but we should bloody well try to find it. It is fairly important. Find me on person whose life has been ruined (not merely inconvenienced) by limits on freedom of speech and I’ll find you a dozen whose lives were ENDED by bullying.

  83. My own M.P by the name of Geraldine Smith who is the Labour member of Parlaiment for Morecambe and Lunesdale voted against this vital piece of legislation in the coroners and Justice Bill. I will be takingt this factor into consideration when I cast my vote when the General Election arrives and I am a Labour Party member. It is high time that homophobic M.Ps regardless of party colours were eradicated from the palace of Westminster and it is up to our community to take collective responsibility to vote these people out in 2010.

  84. I am heart broken that a Labour M.P in the 21st Century perceives me as a second class citizen as do various other Labour Party members in Morecambe and Lunesdale Labour Party, I refer to the ones who voted to reselect her.

  85. Suzi, it has NOTHING to do with MPs regarding us as 2nd class citizens. How outrageous for people to be playing that “poor me, pity me” card when far more than that is at stake. Our very liberty and freedom would have been on the line had this act passed, because it would just have been another stepping stone to the next piece of draconian legislature that seeks to make criminals of us all. Look around you, don;t you read the news? They are criminalizing EVERYTHING in order to control our every move and function. You can now be arrested on the flimsiest of reasons, and had Bliar had his way anyone could today have been locked up for 90 days for dropping a sweet wrapper, no questions asked. Is that REALLY the prison camp you want to live in for the sake of not having your sensibilities ruffled? If you let insults get to you then more fool you, but I do not need this law to protect my sensibilities cos stocks and stones may break my bones, etc. etc.

  86. poeticlicense 14 Nov 2009, 2:23pm

    I find this abhorent, an unelected house rejecting the elected chamber’s wishes not once but 4 times, GET RID OF THE LORDS NOW, they seem to think its ok for nespapers, tv and radio to discriminate against LGBT people using the lame duck excuse of free speech, but i guess i cannot use my free speech to insult those who discriminate against me due to their faith, is this what proports to be democracy in 2009 great britain, if so I’m TS get me out of here !

  87. This is not about “Free Speech”, this is about religous people wanting an opt out clause so that they can discriminate.

    The whole idea of an opt out clause in discrimination law is ridiculous to the extreme.

    As in all areas of life . . . You cannot have your cake and eat it.

  88. “So Iris, you were opposed to Peter Tatchell invading the Christian Synod with his protests, were you, and he should have been prosecuted for being “intolerant” to the Anglican Church?”

    Religion’s a choice, sexuality isn’t. Sexuality, gender, race and disability need more protection than ‘beliefs’.

  89. Jean-Paul Bentham 15 Nov 2009, 2:54am

    So that’s what the bishops are doing in the House of Lords!

    I can just see pope ben16 having new outfits tailored for his official visit to the UK.

    And of course, he’ll have to have his toilet tissue printed with the Union Jack on it.

    But I ain’t bitter.

    Oh and Evan, why don’t you put a lid on it for awhile.

  90. Jean-Paul Bentham . . . exactly

    The House of Lords
    *Unneccessaty . . . in the 21st century

    . . . so are really surprised at the outcome

  91. Peter Tatchell was perfectly justified in protesting [at the Easter Sunday service, canterbury cathedral 1998, in fact]. The Church imposes its morality on the rest of the state because in the UK there is no separation of church and state, and the bishops all sit in then House of Lords, unelected and influencing government, as mentioned above.

  92. The issue of Freedom of speech has been heated, and so it should be.

    However, why is it that those who argue the freedom of speech stance ignore the “Massive Anarchism and Anomaly” here?

    How can an unelected “House of Lords” ever represent or purport to represent freedom of speech.

    I rest my case; a chamber which has a right to include a representative figure head from all the major religions does not represent the predominantly secular UK society.
    Consequently, any proscribed amendment will automatically have a element which serves to protect, preserve and propagate religious sensibilities.

    I find it a little odd that the massive anarchism and anomaly is some what ignored by some.

    Does the archaic really have a place in 21st century UK.

  93. Bob (62) said:
    “What words are nasty?”
    Evan (28) gave his list, which seems to suggest that “gay” is a nasty word. Is “straight” a nasty word as well, I wonder? And if “homosexual” is a nasty word, is “heterosexual” a nasty word?

    Bob (62) said:
    “Have you noticed that when Lord Waddington mentioned Ms Pauline Howe during his speech in the House of Lords, he conveniently forgot to mention that she described gay people as sodomites in her letter? I wonder what he would do if her letter to the council contained words such as niggers/pakis/yids/dirty jews etc.”

    If you’re asking me whether I think it should be a criminal offence to use any of the words above, or any other words; my answer is categorically no.

    If you’re asking whether using the word “sodomite” in that place equates with the other words you listed, yes – for sure. She should be shunned from polite society, perhaps called to resign her position, roundly condemned. But that’s not a matter for the law.

    I think that I profoundly disagree about what hate speech is. If somebody says “I hate Islam”, “I hate Americans”, “I hate homosexuality”, etc, it uses the word “hate”, but I don’t believe it’s “hate speech” – it’s expressing an opinion. Only because people are free to express such opinions can they feel society’s revulsion. But if somebody calls for death to Muslims, or death to homosexuals that is hate speech. If someone targets abuse at a person because they are gay, as long as we establish the “hate” motive, that is hate speech.

    I don’t buy this notion that hate is extinguished by making a law banning hateful opinion. It’s not. Very likely even the opposite is true.

  94. Mihangel apYrs 16 Nov 2009, 8:33am

    Leviticus is quite clear: the penalty for homosexuality is DEATH. A preacher quoting that is of course now protected, despite any actions taken by anyone taking that as a green light.

    Paul writes that it is an abomination: any preacher quoting that at a young teen is protected, even when that teen suicides.

    THAT can be the affect of this “free speech” protection.

  95. In response to Stewart,

    “I’ll be writing to my Tory M.P to ask him why race is considered a protected class but not our community . . . ”

    comment 2.

    How can you compare race to sexual preference? You can’t help the colour you are born, but you can help to whom, how and where you put your John Thomas. You can be born with any coloured skin, but sexual preference is a choice.

    I don’t see why special interest groups should have special legislation. I don’t condone violence of any kind , but the way to stop it is certainly not by gagging everyone who disagrees with where you put your John Thomas.

    Grow up! get over it! move on.

  96. Pumpkin Pie 17 Nov 2009, 3:09am

    sexual preference is a choice


  97. Lucas, sexual perference is not a choice – the overwhelming scientific evidence shows it is innate, natural and neutral.

    Being an interfering busybody is certainly a choice. You can choose to mind your own business, and not concern you self with other people’s private affairs that in no way affect you.

    Why not focus on your own damn family for a change?

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