Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lords vote for free speech on 'gay hatred' law

The House of Lords has voted on a free speech amendment to the proposed 'homophobic hatred' law, and Peers voted affirmatively by 81 votes to 57. This was a cross-party amendment which has been tabled by Lord Waddington and supported by the Bishop of Winchester.

This was not a pro-gay, anti-gay issue, but simply one of the right to freedom of speech. The 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.’

This would seem to be a perfectly measured and utterly reasonable amending clause, and one that is imperative for the orthodoxy of a number of faiths.

Although there are other protections in the proposed law which are similar to the protections in the religious hatred law, there is no free speech clause. Lord Waddington’s amendment is an important clause for the protection for religious liberty. The similar law on religious hatred has a free speech protection. If the 'homophobic hatred' law did not have one, it would be a bizarre inconsistency.

The amendment must, of course, be approved by the Commons, where the Government may try to overturn it…


Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

It is a real mystery to me (a) why this government, or any other, should WANT this law and (2) why they should (as I am sure they will) resist such an amendment. What is behind it all?

22 April 2008 at 16:45  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

P.S., and OT - I am distressed to see that Chorch of England/Roound Tuit/Hot-Cross-Bun logo on your generally estimable blog. When you ring up Church House these days a voice says "Church of England". Till recently the switchboard girls at Exeter announced "The Church of England in Devon" till (as I fancy must have happened) they were laughed out of it. The Church is the Church is the Church. We should not need branding.

22 April 2008 at 16:50  
Blogger The Black Fingernail said...

LBS, I think His Grace is being ironic. Doesn't the comment under the logo give it away?

But on this topic, I've read comments from people like Rowan Atkinson and prominent gays like Peter Tatchell who don't want this law and want to defend freedom of speech. Wasn't this a Blair agenda? I can't think Brown would be that bothered by it.

22 April 2008 at 17:13  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Black fingernail, I see I have been obtuse. By the way, are you a holy relic?

22 April 2008 at 18:36  
Anonymous save it 4 number 2 said...

If you say you hate people with ginger hair, or bald people, or call over weight people fat bastards, it doesn't mean you are pronouncing a Fatwa on these types of people and stirring up suicide attacks or anything remotely similar, does it?

22 April 2008 at 19:37  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
this law was yet another liberal fascist assault on common sense. one wonders if there would such a thing as a crime in the future.

this movement towards the framing of crime as a medical matter , must appeal to the communist mind.

however if crime is to be thought of a medical matter , then surely the crime of national bankruptacy , must need a great deal of medication . perhaps there is case for sectioning , all of them!!

22 April 2008 at 23:51  

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