Government “open to discussion” on homophobic incitement
A Home Office minister has vowed to review homophobic incitement laws amid calls for anti-gay remarks to be made illegal.
Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk, Police and Security Minister Tony McNulty said that the issue is under review and vowed that once religious and racial incitement laws are implemented it will then be easier to see how to follow up with a law against homophobic harassment.
“It’s still something we will put under review, by 2008 we hope to be in a position where we know the right way of going forward with race, religion, and homophobia,” he said.
“The new incitement laws will help inform other parts of hate crime, we will see how religious hatred incitement goes and this will inform our thinking in terms of verbal abuse in terms of homophobias, things are fairly new but I’m open to discussion.”
Gay charity Stonewall has recently listed a law against homophobic incitement as a key part of its campaign for equality in 2007, and Mr McNulty said the government should be open to discussion on the issue.
There are currently no laws against homophobic incitement, although anti gay remarks can be brought under Public Order Offences, as seen in the conviction of Conservative Councillor Peter Willows in Brighton last month after he described gay people as paedophiles.
However, while racial, sexist and religious incitement are due to be outlawed in a law, there is currently little that can be done to stop homophobic remarks such as in music or the media.