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Maria Miller tables Public Order Act amendment protecting critics of equal marriage

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  1. It is extremely annoying that so many concessions are being made simply to accommodate the bigoted views of a section of the population. Our equal rights should not even be up for debate. If you don’t want to have a same-sex marriage, don’t have one!

    1. Insufferable and limp wristed 17 Jun 2013, 4:52pm

      That is also a good argument for allowing incestuous marriage and polygamy.

      Furthermore, we already have equality. No person, gay or straight may marry the same sex.
      marriage is the union of a man and a woman. If you don’t want to have a marriage as defined, don’t!

      1. Norman what are you doing on here?

      2. Homophobic idiot take your patriarchal views back to the Victorian era where they belong.

  2. davevauxhall 17 Jun 2013, 11:37am

    So theoretically if I pronounce to everyone that I think that interracial marriage or marriage of divorcees or religious marriage is wrong and not legitimate marriage it won’t be considered as stirring up hatred or bigotry. If they are going to bring this in I expect it to be neutral about criticism of marriage not just about homosexual marriage. Otherwise it is just enshrining and legitimising discrimination

    1. It isn’t a criminal offence to speak against interracial marriage is it? It would just mark one out as a grade A bell-end. I mean people come out with racist stuff all the time and don’t get prosecuted. I’m as concerned as anyone about the clause about “insulting” speech being used to criminalise free speech recently, but bigots of all flags still get their public space.

    2. The article says the clause would talk about “discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to marriage”, so it would have no impact on discussion about interracial marriage or divorce. The hate speech laws are nonsensical and rarely enforced anyway, but I don’t like the idea of writing into law the idea that opposition to same-sex marriage is an opinion especially worthy of protection.

      1. Did this happen, for example, when slavery was abolished? Was there a clause in the law saying: any discussion or criticism about the rights of people because of their race shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred (or racism)”?

        The fact is that this is not only about believing that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but about people expressing opinions about who deserves what, who is less than who, and to be honest, who people think of as unworthy, sinful, “abomination”, deviant, etc.

        1. I don’t think there were any laws on racial hatred before the 1980s, or on racial discrimination before the 1960s, so they would not have been an issue when slavery was abolished.

      2. The bigots who say we want special treatment are the ones who actually want special treatment.

    3. barriejohn 17 Jun 2013, 1:31pm

      He said “theoretically”. If churches are going to be able to refuse to recognise gay marriage are they also going to be able to refuse to marry interracial couples, and if not why not? I know Christians who still think that such unions are “unscriptural”. I think his point is that gays are being treated as second class citizens here. What happened to human rights?

  3. And so begins the hotels allowed to refuse gay married couples.

    So begins flower arrangers allowed to not service gay weddings.

    So begins B&B owners having the right to refuse gay married couples.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    You’ve managed to f\/ck up what was meant to be civilizing the uk.

    1. Why would any of that happen just because people’s right to criticise equal marriage is protected? It wouldn’t mean they have the right to deny people goods and services.

      1. We’ll see……

      2. “Good Afternoon”, said the very tight-lipped proprietor with nothing so much resembling a smile on her face as Mrs. & Mrs. Brown-Smith arrived to take up their booking at the B&B. “We don’t approve of your marriage, we think it’s wrong, against the will of God, not to mention a gross insult to human decency, and we are perfectly entitled to say so, under government legislation. However, here is the double-room you requested. Breakfast is from 8 to 10. Do have a lovely stay”.

        You’ll be happy with that, will you, Ialocura?

        That scenario will be entirely legal.

        I am sure you can foresee other such situations.

        1. Do you honestly think, if that scenario happened now, there is any realistic chance that the proprietor would be prosecuted under hate speech laws?

          1. No. Under hate speech laws, they would not be prosecuted, I think.

            But the point is that the proposed amendment to the Public Order Act will actually, positively, SANCTION the performance of such open and unabashed criticism of same-sex marriage, directly to our faces.

            Yes, some homophobes won’t have the gall to exploit it, but, by heck, I think we’ve had enough evidence in the course of the last year to see that there’s likely to be a hell of a lot of haters who will.

        2. I would say, thank you, I hope we have a lovely stay, of course we will be having anal sex many times in your bed and I will enjoy a good breakfast after that. Your belief in a fictional being doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

          On checking out. I’m afraid your establishment is substandard, dirty with awful food, I am afraid I will have to spread to word that this is a place for all people to avoid at all costs. Good Day.

          I would go out of my way to look for things to report the place to environment health, the council and anyone else that regulates these places. Revenge is a dish best served cold

          1. Well, you have a much much thicker skin than mine, David.

            My and my partner’s arrival would have been ruined. We would have been humiliated. We would not feel welcome. If we were to stay, our time there would be ruined.

            We would leave.

            The homophobes would chuckle with hate and delight.

        3. Thanks for the reply. I’m not a legal expert but I would have thought there’s a difference between protecting the right for an individual to express an opinion and saying they can express it under any circumstances whatsoever. As far as I see it having the right to express an opinion doesn’t mean being able to harass people with it, which is what your example sounds like. I mean if a muslim couple went to a B&B and got the same treatment for their views then I think that would be wrong even though I support having (and indulge in) the right to criticise islam. In other words I think your example would constitute harassment.

          For what it’s worth I agree there’s no point in making special cases out of these as these rights all ought to be covered by the Human Rights Act anyway and this is clearly just designed to placate homophobes, I just can’t see it’ll do the harm you seem to think it will.

    2. But marriage (and civil partnership) and sexual oriebtation are all already protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

      The discrimination you cite would be illegal because it would be refusing a service on grounds of sexual orientation.

      Recent case law has upheld this even in the face of a conscientious objection defence from religious B&B owners.

      1. I interpreted Beelzeebub’s “so begins” as indicating that positive sanctioning of criticism will allow a backdoor method by which to refuse us goods and services, i.e. my husband and I show up, make our marriage plain, request to buy or rent X, and then in order to refuse us, the bigot need only take advantage of the legal amendment and begin recite all of his reasons as to why he or she thinks our marriage is invalid, against human civilization, against gods, and so on, and so on, and what’s the net effect of that going to be (he or she will be hoping)? Yes. My husband and I will leave. We will have been legally criticised, we won’t WANT to stay in the bigot’s hotel, or buy the bigot’s goods. The bigot will have legally exercised his bigotry. He or she will have “refused” us goods and services by a legally sanctioned method.

        This is serious.

        Use NOW and protest against this amendment.

        1. I am not defending Maria Miller’s amendment which like you I find offensive. But it is important to understand that it does not allow you and your partner to be offered a less favourable service. It allows a bigot to voice his opposition to your marriage with impunity but doesn’t allow him to discriminate in providing a service or public function.

          Hate speech is not free speech, This amendent is about enshrining the right to be offensive and cause harm which is why it is ill-considered, not about service discrimination.

      2. It’s over to you, folks. I’ve got important other business to attend to for the rest of this day.

        But I have just written a long and reasoned letter (emailed) to Maria Miller.

        You can write to her at Westminser:

        Or you can write to her at her constituency office, Basingstoke:

        If you are concerned, write a careful, reasoned, and respectful letter, and tell her what you think QUICKLY.

        1. Contrary to the directions given on Maria Miller’s website, I have just received an automatic response from her advising that all communications from individuals who are NOT members of her constituency should be sent to:

          If you have already written to Maria Miller at the addresses posted earlier, please forward a copy of your earlier email to

          1. Done, she has another email now.

  4. The many concessions to bigotry are indeed annoying.
    I imagine the anti-equality folk will rapidly get bored with criticising same sex marriage once it is a legal reality and they realise can do nothing more to block it. It’s all just a sop to shut them up while the legislation goes through.

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jun 2013, 11:54am

    I have no problem with Maria Miller’s proposal. It should have been done during the Commons Committee.

    As for the referendum tabled by MPs a year after the Bill has become law, well David Burrowes’ wet dream isn’t going to happen. One day he’ll get his comeuppance.

  6. Sean Johansen 17 Jun 2013, 11:56am

    Even without these amendments here in the US states where it is legal we are already seeing pure bigotry. Cake shops refusing wedding cakes, bridal shops refusing two women and this is just the start. The law should not just allow equal marriage it should ensure equal treatment of those wanting to get married. To ensure all services are equal too.
    Will someone at pink news please get rid of these math questions before we post they are most annoying.

    1. “The law should not just allow equal marriage it should ensure equal treatment of those wanting to get married.”

      Well said, Sean. And, indeed, the reports you cite from the States ought to inform Maria Miller that what she’s proposing is unacceptable.

    2. We already have equality in goods and services – Equality Act 2010. This amendment to the Public Order Act is about free speech, and in the UK free speech provisions cannot give businesses exemptions to their equality obligations.

      This is true in the US also, and in states which have equality provisions, courts have held that objecting to same-sex marriage is no defence in discrimination suits. That is why anti-gay service providers keep losing these cases, and the florist in Washington and the cake shops in Oregon and Colorado will lose their cases as well if they go to court. The cases arise not because the law is absent – they’re because people don’t understand or care to obey the law.

      But many US states do NOT have LGBT equality requirements in public accommodations. See on the “Public Accommodations” tab.

      1. Please see my response to Skip.

        1. Sorry, to “Skep”

    3. We already have the provision of goods and services act here which prevents that sort of discrimination, people are able to hold and express whatever opinion they wish about marriage but if they are running a business they must observe the law or accept the consequences.

  7. Sure. If I have the right to state that ‘marriage should be between two members of the same sex’. And not be prosecuted. I’m a big advocate of free speech, providing its not inciting hatred or violence. Being critical of same sex marriage, on its own, just shows ignorance. Plus I’d rather know what people really thought about me anyway. Who’s a bigot, and who’s decent.

  8. Bullies always scream for protection for themselves when they have lost the fight or argument. Their ‘right’ not to be discriminated against because of holding their bigoted views are as of nothing compared to centuries of institutionalised homophobia.

  9. Maria Miller is working on an exemption for incitement to violence against gay people so long as the hate speakers mention our marriages?

    Great – bloody Tories, enshrining bigotry against us

    It’s ALREADY legal to criticise. It’s not illegal to incite violence – so that is where the exception will lie

  10. Jock S. Trap 17 Jun 2013, 12:08pm

    Ok, I get it…whatever it takes to get this through the unelected place however the very fact that bigots feel the need for such a law just makes then stand out.

    It’s appalling that we’re having ministers trying to please the unpleasable but if it gets this through then so be it.

    Personally I think this amendment is a complete waste of time. Just because someone doesn’t believe my marriage to a same sex partner doesn’t make my marriage less in law, just the bigoted more bigoted.

  11. I object to the misleading and emotive debate which has led to this amendment. And I regret the waste of time spent on it.

    But the content seems to me simply to state the current legal position.

    The amendment doesn’t protect bigots from prosecution. It just says that simple criticism of same-sex marriage doesn’t meet the threshold. To take the interracial example, saying “I disagree with couples of different races marrying” is not illegal. Saying “I disagree with couples of the same sex marrying” would have been legal without this amendment and it will be legal with it.

    The stupidest thing about the “they’ll lock us up!” argument is that the antis have said over again all the things (and worse) they were telling us they’d be locked up for saying, yet remained unprosecuted – thus disproving their own thesis.

    This only affects the criminal law on free speech. It has nothing to do with civil law on equality. You can be a bigot, but you’ll still have to treat everyone the same.

    1. Yeah, that’s my reading except you’ve managed to state it much more lucidly.

  12. CH Brighton 17 Jun 2013, 12:24pm

    What the f***k is a modern government doing by enshrining bigot’s charter within the law? Ten steps forward now three steps back.

  13. PeterinSydney 17 Jun 2013, 12:24pm

    Bigots should not be given any encouragement at all. They are dangerous, nasty and just out to train wreck the legislation.

  14. its so laughable that the major purveyors of gay persecution and hatred thru the centuries now need a charter of rights, sunset clauses and amendments to make them feel that their hatred is no longer bigoted but perfectly reasonable?!
    I would be so embarrassed to be on the one hand proclaiming the gospel of peace and goodwill to all and then need a bigots charter to enjoy immuntiy from prosecution because of my homophobic views about my fellow man..these people have APPROPRIATED the word of God and twisted it for their own political ends…..what a travesty of Christs message of eternal non judgemental love for ALL

  15. Our politicians may like to wax lyrical fancying themselves as Churchill the next time that some religious fundamentailst nutjob does something awful, yet it’s painfully obvious that when it comes to standing up to a miniscule minority of extremist bigots hiding behind religion their spineless appeasement has more in common with Neville Chamberlain.

  16. essexgirlbecky 17 Jun 2013, 12:50pm

    Yes it’s fine for people to say “I don’t believe in same sex marriage” (A). We don’t police what people think.

    But if they start saying “I don’t believe in same-sex marriage, you are all damned to hell, and you should all be put up against a wall and shot” (B) then clearly we have a problem.

    This amendment is designed to protect those who take position A, but would not protect those who take position B. But Part IIIA of the Public Order Act 1986 already says as much.

    In my view, the proposed clause is totally redundant; if guidance is needed on the subject it can be covered in an accompanying guidance note.

  17. It seems from reading the article that this amendment won’t actually change the law, it will just clarify it. Sure, it’s a bit pointless in terms of that, but if it helps calm the irrational fear some marriage equality opponents seem to have that they’re going to be locked away for expressing religious views, it could be a good thing.

    If they feel more protected and less threatened by us, they might feel it’s less important to fight against our basic civil rights. Of course, I could just be terribly naive and optimistic, but I’d rather hold onto my hope that our society can evolve to a point where both everyone’s fundamental rights can be respected, and where the more hysterical anti-gay propaganda (“children will be marrying toasters and cats next, while Christians are publicly executed D:”) doesn’t cause so many poor paranoid types to genuinely believe it and become all terrified and truly hateful.

  18. barriejohn 17 Jun 2013, 1:25pm

    It tells you all you need to know about the religious that they need special laws to enable them to discriminate against other members of society. You’d think that they would be hanging their heads in shame at this!

  19. This is only a re-statement of the perfectly good law that already exists.

    If it is what it takes to calm down the loonies then so be it.

    1. Even if it allows them to publicly humiliate you when you are trying to check into a hotel?

      Would you want to eat the cake made by someone who expressed these views to you.

      Even in gay friendly businesses, the staff could not be repremanded for expressing their view to you in public, would you be happy with that.

      If you answer no, then they have found a legal way to deny us goods and services. And more than that, if that happened at checkin and you say you no longer want to stop there, they would be within their right to charge you a late cancellation fee.

      1. Good point, re. the cake, David! Good article in the Guardian on Saturday about the relationship between restaurant patrons and waiters and many readers pointed out that even if waiters are arrogant and rude it’s best not to object because it’s a fact that they can do awful things to your food in the kitchen before they bring it to you. Graham Norton had a woman explain, to great amusement, how she rubbed a customer’s steak against her puss* before taking it into the dining-room and presenting it to him. (And the “joke” was that the customer later called her over to complain there was a hair on his meat, she knowing, of course, exactly what kind of hair it was.)

        Yes, I wouldn’t eat or drink a thing in an establishment that tolerated my partner and me but clearly disapproved of us.

        There has to be at least trust and respect, never mind warmth and a welcome, when you go to a supplier of goods or services.

  20. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jun 2013, 2:18pm

    I really don’t care if they want to denigrate same-sex marriages. There’s more than plenty to denigrate theirs and the uniquely hetero phenomenon called ‘adultery’. The fact of the matter is, their opinions jor right to traduce our marriages really don’t count for anything because under the law, they will be legal marriages. The law is what counts not what religious loons believe or say.

  21. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Jun 2013, 2:18pm

    I really don’t care if they want to denigrate same-sex marriages. There’s more than plenty to denigrate theirs and the uniquely hetero phenomenon called ‘adultery’. The fact of the matter is, their opinions or right to traduce our marriages really don’t count for anything because under the law, they will be legal marriages. The law is what counts not what religious loons believe or say.

  22. You know what, make it law that a business has to state in its promotional material and website what their view is, make them advertise this view if that is what they think. Then we and everyone else can choose not to give our business to these people.

    But they should not be allowed to tell us those views to our faces.

  23. … so, if I object to inter-racial marriage on ‘religious’ grounds, can I have an opt-out clause too, please? Yet ANOTHER concession to the vociferous religious minority. It’s a disgrace.

  24. Nick Davis 17 Jun 2013, 3:08pm

    OK, they want protection for traditional marriage, lets give it to them.
    No Divorce at all, Divorced persons from before the new law are prohibited from marrying or entering a church ever. If you don’t have children within 12 months of the marriage, they are declared barren and prohibited from marrying of entering a church ever. Sex outside marriage is illegal and the offending parties are pilored and banned from marriage and the church.
    Then we can start on shellfish, pork, etc.

  25. yea it’s fine that you believe what you want, but do we have to hear it? the same for racists etc as well in my opinion. not that it will matter, once it’s legal who cares what the bigots say anymore. they can dislike it all they want and say what they want but they won’t be able to change it anymore so…lol….just an amendment by idiots for idiots …not a news story

  26. floridahank 17 Jun 2013, 5:13pm

    There’s seeds of rational tolerence in her position. The problem lies in the ignorance and bias on both sides – heterosexuals and homosexuals. Each has their own agenda that is filled with misinformation, violence and hatred. Most of the religious believers are not at all spiritual in knowing and following Jesus Christ — not some religious organiztion that truly doesn’t tell the Truth and Gospel that Jesus Christ showed. Jesus Christ is not a religion, after awhile some started calling Him and His followers Christians, but that is a far cry from what the majority call Christianity. Only a small percentage of those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior gives peace and understanding — most others are simply calling themselves Christians but it’s an empty label.
    For homosexuals, they too are ignorant on what it means to be a true human being, which includes a pure heart, a knowledge of who is your creator and that you should have a strong conscience as to being a total human being,

    1. floridahank 17 Jun 2013, 5:18pm

      Some of my comment was left out, it should include
      “For homosexuals, they too are ignorant on what it means to be a true human being, which includes a pure heart, a knowledge of who is your creator and that you should have a strong conscience as to being a total human being, not just being driven by any sexual feelings that most of the time has nothing to do with love and devotion, but simply lustful pleasure. That too is only basic and without deep human merit.

      Human sexuality is a very complex behavior that is yet to be studied by more knowledgeable scientists that have yet concentrated on it. Most medical experts will all say they have disagreements as to what composes and what forms sexual behavior. There are no definitive scientific studies that have come up with answers that can be met by those studying human sexuality. Anybody who says otherwise simply is making assumptions, and not stating facts.

      1. Beelzeebub 17 Jun 2013, 5:23pm

        “Some of my comment was left out,”

        You should have left it all out.

        What a load of unmitigated sh!t.

      2. Why are you so obssessed about sex? Nobody is talking sex on this bill. Gays and straight will continue to have a sex life whether there is same sex marriage or not. LGBT couple are fighting for their rights as same sex couple deserved to be equally recognized and protected! DOn’t throw lustful accusations solely on LGBT because we all know heterosexuals can be worst on it too. Trust me! I’m a straight woman!

        1. floridahank 17 Jun 2013, 9:38pm

          The sex drive is one of the strongest human instincts and needs. It should be totally discussed because when it’s misdirected it causes huge problems for hetero’s and homo’s . Unless you live in a cloistered world, you don’t understand what and how sex drive is behind all kinds of motivations. Uncontrolled sex can kill individuals, destroy families, and lead to numerous diseases.
          The reason truly spiritual people comment on sex, is because while God created it for good in a proper marriage, most of mankind has taken it out and used it strictly for selfish pleasure — and that will definitely lead to one’s destruction morally, spiritually, and physically. Understanding sex is most vital to live a decent, peaceful life. Do you disagree?

      3. “not just being driven by any sexual feelings that most of the time has nothing to do with love and devotion, but simply lustful pleasure.”

        LGBT people’s sexual feelings are no more driven simply by lust than straight people. You have the wrong L word there, hank. Try the word ‘LOVE’ instead. Gay relationships are just as valid as straight ones, and, like straight ones, sex is but a part of the whole.

        1. floridahank 18 Jun 2013, 4:14am

          Hey Iris. What I’m saying is that from all the reading/research that I gathered,
          LGBT agenda is not focused on getting their right to get married, because from much of the reading it seems that marriage is a minor issue for LGBT and their
          main agenda is to force the definition of marriage to not be man and woman, and if that principle is destroyed, the next move by secular society (the way its moving) will be to negate marriage to be anything special, and that society should be free to have “marriage” include polygamy and further down the line the drop the age limit to anybody above 12 yrs. and with many of society’s previous standards of morals, it’s not inconceivable to let incest become accepted within certain standards. The degeneracy of society can be seen in the rise of abortion, euthanasia, drug addiction. financial corruption. rise of crime, and I could continue the list. If you study how evil and immoral humans can become it’s apparent we’re riding down that slope.

          1. JackAlison 18 Jun 2013, 5:21am

            Oh go bitch about the sad sorry prejudiced christians on another site
            I can’t make head nor tail about wot ur rabbiting on about …but I can sure smell the apologia for bigotry…And that tired old arguement that when it all comes down to it like every other terrified hetero ur traumatized by homogenital sex…
            NEWSFLASH….no one is the least bit interested in ur bits n pieces!!!!
            this is about human rights and the struggle for the primacy of love and intimacy with fellow human beings
            take ur sad sorry self and get some ‘conversion therapy’ to get in touch with ur common decency and humanity…

          2. barriejohn 18 Jun 2013, 8:29am

            What “degeneracy of society”? You should look more closely at the Middle Ages, when religion ruled the roost! People enjoy infinitely greater freedoms today, and we have in Great Britain now, despite all its flaws, a more peaceful, more moral, more law-abiding society than we have ever known. Even Victorian England was a cesspit of immorality, despite its “Christian” pretensions. You’re reading all the wrong material, I’m afraid!

          3. floridahank 19 Jun 2013, 8:09pm

            Hey barriejohn, Victorian England was never Christian because all they knew was a religion that was distorted, corrupt and not at all spiritual. It was run by people who only wanted to make $$$ off the ignorant peasants. They had no idea who Jesus Christ was and what He proclaimed. There are only a small % of true Christ followers — most are hypocrites and are Christians in name only. If you studied the Bible, you’d find out that only Jesus Christ saves sinners — not denominations, Popes, preachers, etc. Only one way to find salvation and 90% of the world is lost forever. People want to do only what pleases themselves, like animals — not much difference that I can see.

  27. St Sebastian 18 Jun 2013, 1:46am

    What about protection for proponents of Same-sex / Marriage Equality. We are after equality. Shows the underlying disrespect for homosexuals as people. I think this exposes her underlying prejudice! This would never be allowed if it were about mixed race marriages!

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