Gay Labour group calls for government to return to gay hate laws
A gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans group affiliated with the Labour Party has called on the government to continue trying to push through legislation to protect gays from homophobic hatred.
Today, the government was forced to admit defeat over an amendment protecting free speech in the laws. The House of Lords had voted to keep the amendment in, saying the laws without it would lead to people being prosecuted for their opinions.
The Ministry of Justice said it had to accept the House of Lords vote as the bill could no longer be delayed. The issue had been pushed back and forth between the two houses for months.
LGBT Labour said there could be no exemptions under the law and called for the government to revisit the issue next week when the next parliamentary session begins.
LGBT Labour co-chair Katie Hanson said: “The government’s protection from homophobic hatred is a important right for lesbians and gay men – and so we are very disappointed that the new law will have an exemption in it for people on the basis of religious views. We do not want to let this rest.
“We will be urging the government to revisit this law in the new session of parliament and finally scrap this amendment from the Lords – to make sure there are no exceptions to protection from homophobic hatred.”
The amendment in question read: “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.”
Peers said this could result in those with religious views against homosexuality being prosecuted.