The case of Pauline Howe, the Christian grandmother investigated by police for objecting to a gay pride parade, has provoked strong debate in the media.
ITV Anglia News report featuring the Institute’s Mike Judge
It featured on ITV’s Anglia News last night with an organiser of the gay pride march supporting the police action because “there are some points of view that are too hateful to be said”.
But elsewhere in the media the head of gay lobby group Stonewall, Ben Summerskill, called the police response “disproportionate”.
The Guardian’s legal affairs correspondent, Afua Hirsch, said those “who usually champion rights” have been “furious at the expression of views that they found deeply offensive”.
Andrew Pierce, a commentator for the Daily Telegraph and a homosexual, said: “What kind of society have we become when the peaceful expression of a religious belief can bring police knocking at the door?”
He added: “We should all be worried by Norwich Council’s ludicrous overreaction, and the weak-kneed response of the local constabulary which went along with it.
“It suggests yet again that the most fundamental of all freedoms – the right of free speech – is being endangered.”
He concluded: “There are already too many laws on the statute book without adding one which says that gays must never be offended or irritated.”
Ed West, also writing for the Telegraph, said: “This is by no means the first incident of its kind – several people, all Christians (generally Evangelicals) have been questioned by the police over objecting to homosexuality.”
He added: “All revolutions go too far, and end up persecuting innocent supporters of the old order. The Sexual Revolution is no different.”
Columnist for the Mirror, Sue Carroll, said that “however obnoxious or objectionable her views might be, Mrs Howe is perfectly entitled to hold them.”
And she asked if the police can apply some common sense and start acting as “public servants – there to protect the vulnerable, not as granny-botherers?”
The story was first reported at the weekend by the Sunday Telegraph and a YouTube video featuring Mrs Howe was posted by The Christian Institute.
The Daily Mail website included the video in its report of the story. It is currently the second most debated article on dailymail.co.uk with almost 500 comments, most of which are aghast at the police action.
Mrs Howe speaks of her shock at being visited by the police