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US: Homophobic speech at City Council meetings prompts response from human rights group

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  1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 3:20pm

    The best way to solve these problems is to add incitement to hatred and similar terms to the law, protecting LGBT people, then let your police decide who has and has not broken the law. It takes a while for the police to get the hang of where the line is drawn, and with each successful or failed prosecution we all get a little bit better at understanding where that line is drawn. However, in the meantime, until people establish exactly where the line is, everybody is a lot more respectful and careful in their language – which benefits everybody.

    It’s a great idea to draw up some guidelines, but they’ll be seen as too weak against haters, or too burdensome to haters – it’s unlikely someone will find the magic balance.

    Where do you set that line? Many things can be seen as incitement to hatred.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jul 2013, 4:35pm

      Hate speech is protected in America unless it incites violence or threatens the life of a politician apparently. Just look at the Westboro Baptist Cult for starters some of the most vile, disgusting statements that could lead to violence and probably has, yet nothing is done about it. The only action taken against them is that they have to remain a few hundred feet away when protesting at the funerals of fallen military. No prosecution ever. One poor man tried to sue them for violating his dead son’s funeral and who was killed in Iraq. He lost.

      1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 4:52pm

        They’ve gotten themselves in to a pickle because they cling to an out-of-date and flawed constitution. How lovely it would be to be free to speak, and when 90% of us do it there isn’t a problem, but a small number incite hatred against others based on skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc., and the way the US constitution is written and interpreted everybody things they have the right to say practically anything (including incitement) about anyone. That is a very poor model for a sophisticated developed country in 2013. It just doesn’t work. As I’ve said, a line needs to be drawn and people must not cross it, otherwise that is incitement, which is a crime, and should be punished. Make a statement, give facts or opinions, explain why, but people cannot be allowed to cross the line, in public, where it harms others. We live together in this public space and whilst people are free to sound off in private, they must not be allowed to contaminate the public space.

        1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 4:55pm

          ps. I lament the soon to be weakened Section 5 of the Public Order Act – that street preacher from the US deserved to be arrested and questions over his views – he was using a megaphone, people could not walk down the street without having their lives impacted by his behavior. He is no different that a drunk causing a public nuisance in the street – it’s a breech of the peace in my book.

          I don’t care what anyone things of me when I walk down the street, I certainly don’t want to be confronted in the street by people, harming my self-esteem and well-being.

          1. Is this what it’s come to? You think it’s the business of the law to protect your “self-esteem”?

            And that preacher wasn’t expressing “hate” against anybody. He was criticising behaviour the Bible condemns as sinful. If you don’t want to hear it, then walk on by.

            And the same thing applies to those who are offended by gay pride events in public places. They don’t have to be there.

          2. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 5:36pm

            Nobody has the right to offend others with this trash on the public highway, and yes nobody should be deliberately setting out to hurt others – ofcourse his message was one of hate, and he knew it, he picked the place, even filmed it, because it was a stunt.

            The Bible is a load of bollox and I will not accept that I should have to listen that that bollox in the public space. Religion is chosen, it’s a choice, it’s a private matter, it should be carried out in private only.

            You must not have seen the video, his loudspeaker was so loud you would have been able to hear it at any point on that street and adjoining ones, there would have been nowhere to go to get away from it.

            Only complete idiots, usually religious nutters, find anything remotely offensive about Gay Pride. It is an authorised protest march, unlike some tosser just turning up, thinking he owns the the public space, then harassing everyone around him.

          3. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 5:52pm

            actually, let me clarify that. I want all the homophobic racist scrumbag Christians out of the public space – and those are a small proportion of Christians. Same goes for the Sikhs, Muslims, Mormons, JWs, etc. They do a great deal of damage to other moderate mind-your-own-business Christians, most of whom support full equality for people who are gay – those people I want to get to know better, and I think we have some shared interests and aims.

            I don’t hate Christians, only the religious right-wing racist homophobic ones. My aunt was a devout Christian, a wonderful warm caring human being who was a model Christian and an inspiration. I hope that one day the religious right will retreat from the public space and leave it for ALL of the rest of us.

  2. johnny33308 24 Jul 2013, 3:20pm

    Hate speech is NOT free speech! Clergy think they have some sort of ‘right’ to spread hatred and bigotry, for some reason. They are only destroying their ‘religion’ and I for one will applaud their destruction. They are the real ‘evil’ in this world!

    1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 3:28pm

      The Bible is a work encompassing both love and hate. If you check out the original Hebrew then our word “abomination” is hardly what they had in mind in the original text, where the meaning was ritually impure, ritually unclean (meat, fish), ritually prohibited. If they are to use the words of the modern (after say 800AD) translations, and western translations at that, and manipulated translations at that, then using the word abomination in a church setting might be seen as ok, because it’s the translation they adhere to. But is it ok for pastors to say it in public? To preach that on the street? To me, no it isn’t. What about a school? No, not to me it isn’t, that’s also a public space. If you “opt-in” by attending a church, where you know what Bible translation they are using, then you have acknowledged you may hear such things, but in the public space, where we all have to live side-by-side, no, such usage is incitement to hatred, to me. I’d like to know think.

  3. Robert A. Cuthbertson, M.d. 24 Jul 2013, 3:23pm

    Why is it necessary for us, the LGBT, to censure the comments? If you are going to make accusations put the comments out there…in all their flaming hate, with names and when the comments were made. Allow all of us the luxury of the First Amendment….

    1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 3:36pm

      It’s a fair point, although examples can be found all over the place. If you commented on The Telegraph, or even The Guardian (before the moderator got to them) you’d find very hateful language used, language which could easily incite hatred, which in the UK is a criminal offence.

      As to why we cannot allow this language – think of the young people. We were all young once, we all know what it’s like growing up different, not being sure if our friends will still be our friends when we tell me we’re gay, the concern about how people treat you, how you will be marginalised and spat at by society. Thankfully it’s a different time now, yet in the US, for example, 6 teenagers took their own lives in just two weeks back in 2010 ( and there have been plenty since. Youngsters are vulnerable, even the ones who aren’t gay, so it’s very important that as little additional pressure, stress, anxiety and hate from religious groups (they’re really the ….

    2. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 3:43pm

      …only ones doing it) is not allowed to endanger the welfare and well-being of these people.

      I’m big enough, and old enough, to fight my own battles, and equipped to win – they aren’t. They need to be protected until they can look after themselves in whatever battles they might come across in life due to the bigotry and prejudice of others.

      It’s also essential for community / society cohesion, and even productivity, because we all have to work together. We live side-by-side, work side-by-side, we must respect each other and not cause deliberate offence which breaks that fragile peace. People who can’t respect others are a threat to society, to stability, that cohesion, maintaining the peace. Nobody wants religious views rammed in their faces, which is why I believe the only way, in the future, will be to ease them back in to their places of worship, to separate church and state in the UK, disestablish the CofE, and take back education to the state.

  4. This is a load of crap. ALL city councils have rules of decorum and behavior. People are thrown out of council meetings all the time for breaking rules with inappropriate, abusive and/or threatening language. Why is abusive and threatening homophobic language not addressed the same way others are? Go on an anti-Christian rant and you’ll be thrown out before you can blink. Go on a racist rant and you’ll be called down instantly. Why are rules of decorum not used when gay people are the target of abuse?

    The chair of that council needs to be challenged to enforce the rules!

    1. The reason homophobic, as against racist and religious abusive remarks, are tolerated, Hayden, is simply ‘homophobia’. EVERYONE has some level of same-sex attraction. The more brainwashed you have been in childhood about the ‘sin’ of homosexuality, the more likely you are to hate yourself for having ANY same-sex feelings. The way to convince yourself – and others – that YOU do not possess those feelings is to project your inner-hatred, outwardly. Until homosexuality is universally accepted as a perfectly normal and natural, ‘god-given’ orientation and behaviour, homophobia will ALWAYS exist as ‘self-haters’ will continue to vent their spleen on those who, to them, represent and reflect those feelings they despise within themselves. People who are comfortable with their own sexuality are NEVER homophobic.

  5. In Germany it is forbidden to incite hate or violence under any circumstances. This is how the limit of free speech should be. Demagogues are a real threat, using hate and fear to get people to do unspeakable things. If you dont have the regulations to stop them in the beginning, things really can get out of hand.

    1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 5:02pm

      And that is the model we should be following across Europe.

      I don’t understand what sort of human being wants to incite hatred of others, their inner thinking is clouded to me. One thing it most certainly is not, is Christian. I’m an atheist, but if Jesus lived, and if you can believe any of what was written, his most important commands were to love the lord, and love your neighbour as yourself – that is written there in black and white. At no time did he say to discriminate, hate, injure others, or act in a malicious way. Their behavior is the opposite of what a Christian would be called to do.

  6. I don’t understand why we don’t apply the same rules for racism to homophobia. Why is it acceptable to say that gays shouldn’t get married because of x, y and z yet it isn’t acceptable to say black people shouldn’t marry white people for x, y and z reasons? The first is protected as an opinion, but the second is racism and discrimination.

    1. Its beccause the reasons for banning black/white marraige was the rascist belief that blacks were not human, and the fear ot sub-human offspring resulting. there is no such view about Gay people. The reasons against gay people, wheter or not you agree, are either moral/historical or cultural/ That’s the difference.

  7. I live in a city that borders Richmond California.

    I would advise this council to be extremely careful about what speech they restrict.

    A better idea would be not to ban any speech even the F, or Q, or any other insult.

    Respond instead that I think you are showing hate etc.

    Otherwise, it will backfire and not advance tolerance.

  8. I hope she gets every last one of them fired. We need to weed these vermin out of all positions of influence. These nasty bigots have had the upper hand for millennia, how many LGBT have been bullied, intimidated or ridiculed at work? How many fired ? How many ARRESTED?

    Now, it’s our turn. WE have the upper hand. For the first time, we are right and they are wrong (by law I mean, we’ve always been right in principle of course)

    Love Conquers Hate
    Always has, always will

  9. ‘Incitement To Hatred’ is the absolute best way to ‘protect free speech’ (whatever that means in the context of being DEEPLY offensive about someone’s sexuality) while ensuring an end to homophobic abuse. The introduction of an ‘Incitement To Hatred’ law may not change the minds of bigots but it would sure make them think before quoting The Bible. The USA shows such deference to religion that it has allowed the verbal and physical abuse of gay people to continue for far too long. Time to curb this particular form of ‘Free Speech’ with a law which trumps biblical homphobia.

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