Homosexual columnist Matthew Parris has commended Peers for passing a free speech amendment to the proposed gay hatred law.
Mr Parris has from the outset been outspoken in his opposition to the planned law, which he terms “a particularly silly idea from the Government”.
Writing in The Times this week, he says the offence is not needed because sexual tolerance is fashionable in the media, the Government and the Opposition.
He writes: “As Rowan Atkinson says, the point at which criticism of any group is considered so outrageous that it’s a vote-winner for politicians to outlaw it is probably the point at which the law’s protection is no longer needed.”
Critics of the proposed law have said that homosexuals can hardly claim downtrodden status while also boasting about how much political influence they have.
Recently, at a flamboyant dinner party at the Savoy, Stonewall founding member Sir Ian McKellen spoke of a meeting he had with Tony Blair before his election as Prime Minister. He said: “I reeled off Stonewall’s demands, and he nodded, wrote them down and put a tick by them all. Then he said we will do all that.”
Mr Parris mentions also in his article the existing legislation against inciting hatred on grounds of religion, which was passed in 2006 with extensive safeguards for free speech. The Christian Institute was at the heart of the campaign for a free speech protection to the religious hatred offence.