Friday, 17 July 2009
British Lords Back Free Speech Protection in ‘Hate Crimes’ Law
LONDON, UK - The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its attempt to repeal a free speech protection from a sexual orientation ‘hatred’ law.
Peers voted by 186 to 133 to keep the protection in place. The matter will be passed back to the House of Commons where Members of Parliament voted for repeal. The protection makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct or encouraging people to refrain from such conduct is not a crime.
The Government says the protection is not necessary, insisting that the ‘homophobic hatred’ offence would not catch the expression of such beliefs. But several members of the House of Lords were concerned about incidents of Christians being challenged by the police because of their beliefs on sexual ethics.