Sectarian Bill (Scotland)

The Scottish Government delayed its controversial sectarianism Bill by six months after legal action was taken by The Christian Institute and CARE for Scotland, amid concern that the Bill was being rushed without proper public consultation.

The Court of Session had been due to hear the case on 24 June 2011 but it was halted after the delay was announced.

The Scottish Government had been trying to force through the law ahead of the new football season.

The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 (OBFA) was a response to sectarian incidents in Scottish football, but there was widespread concern it would be damaging to free speech and civil liberty.

After a huge letter-writing campaign, when the Bill was eventually introduced it also included a robust clause to protect free speech.

In May 2016 it was reported that the controversial and unpopular law could be abolished, after every opposition party backed its repeal. If all MSPs voted on party lines the Government would be defeated by two votes, 65 votes to 63.

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