Arts & Entertainment
Britain plans to ban incitement of hatred against gays
by Rex Wockner
Originally printed 10/18/2007 (Issue 1542 - Between The Lines News)
British Justice Secretary Jack Straw says the government plans to prohibit incitement of hatred against gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
The proposed law would ban words, writings, video, audio and behavior purposefully aimed at encouraging anti-gay hatred, under penalty of up to seven years in prison.
"It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the past 10 years that we are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on the basis of their sexuality," Straw said. "It is time for the law to recognize this."
Christian groups expressed alarm over the government's plan, saying that opining that gay sex is wrong should not be a crime.
But gay groups and the government said the law would not apply to temperate expression of religious views.
"However, we refuse to accept any longer that there's no connection between extreme rap lyrics calling for gay people to be attacked or fundamentalist claims that all gay people are pedophiles, and the epidemic of anti-gay violence disfiguring Britain's streets," said Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, Britain's leading gay-lobby group.