Monday, April 13, 2009

That's soooo gay

Commentary from the United Kingdom, on a proposed law to ban "anti-gay" speech:
... But because I live in that kind of country, I have to accept that many Catholics have equally strong and honestly held views about homosexuality – and the right to express them. As far as I'm concerned, the church is entitled to its hellfire and brimstone judgment, and to preach it to anyone who'll listen. What's sauce for the gay goose is sauce for the God-fearing gander.

This Government, though, seems determined to abolish freedom of speech. It has made it a criminal offence to incite religious or racial hatred and, as of last year, there is also an offence on the statute book (but not yet in force) of inciting hatred based on sexual orientation. If this legislative trend continues, telling someone you don't like their slacks could soon land you in the slammer.

Bucking this trend, the House of Lords inserted a "free speech" exception to the gay-hate offence, which protects people who discuss or criticise sexual conduct, or urge others to refrain from it. Now, though, the Ministry of Justice has added a clause to the current Coroners and Justice Bill which, if passed, will repeal that "free speech" exception. The justice secretary, Jack Straw, said that there were no circumstances in which the right to freedom of speech could justify homophobic behaviour. [emphasis added]

When seeking to outlaw homophobic acts, Mr Straw is thinking of extreme political groups and nasty rap lyrics. He probably doesn't have in mind the "only gay in the village" sketches from Little Britain. But his political opponents fear that that kind of comedy could fall foul of his new law. ...

Article here. Methinks the British government doesn't understand the concept of free speech. Popular, politically correct speech doesn't need protecting; unpopular, offensive, controversial speech does.

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