Lords are right to limit homophobic hatred law
Existing laws are adequate, and even open to abuse
London – 10 July 2009
On 9 July, the House of Lords voted in favour of an amendment to restrict the scope of the bill banning incitement to homophobic hatred.
Commenting on the Lord’s vote, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:
“I am content with the Lord's decision on free speech grounds, although I am concerned that some of their lordships used the free speech argument as a cover for their true homophobic motivation."
"The vote was quite hypocritical. The same lords who voted for this free speech amendment on homophobia have never insisted on a free speech clause in the laws banning incitement to racial hatred. Why the double standards?
"To be frank, I'd like to see all the incitement to hatred laws repealed. They are unnecessary. There are already enough laws to deal with abusive and threatening words that go beyond reasonable criticism.
“Many of the existing laws are already open to police abuse, as in the case of the Bournemouth lay preacher, Harry Hammond, who was unjustly convicted under the public order laws for merely saying that he believed homosexuality is 'immoral'. Harry was a bit of a bigot, but a fairly gentle one. He should have never been criminalised," said Mr Tatchell.
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