The Christian Institute

News Release

‘Gay hate’ law threatens free speech

Christians who say gay sex is wrong could be sent to prison for up to seven years if MPs pass a ‘homophobic hatred’ law. Such a law is expected to be called for when MPs debate the Criminal Justice Bill on Monday (8 October).

In July the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, expressed concerns about an incitement to homophobic hatred law. Speaking to he said, “…while safeguarding the right of individuals to live free from discrimination and abuse, we also have to respect this country’s long tradition of free speech, which this Government enshrined in the Human Rights Act. There has to be a clear dividing line between robust debate and incitement to hate crime.”

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said today, “In a democratic society people must be free to express their beliefs without fear of censure from the state. A homophobic hatred law would be used by those with an axe to grind against Christians to silence them. There has already been high profile cases of the police interfering with free speech and religious liberty regarding sexual ethics. People shouldn’t face prison for expressing their sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

Cases where the police have investigated people for expressing their religious views on homosexuality:

  1. Joe and Helen Roberts, a Christian couple from Lancashire, were interrogated by police because they complained to their local council over its gay rights policy.
  2. The Bishop of Chester was investigated by police for citing evidence tha t homosexuals can ‘reorientate’ to heterosexuality.
  3. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, then head of the Muslim Council of Britain, was investigated by police – including a file being passed to the Crown Prosecution Service – for saying that homosexuality was harmful.
  4. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, was reported to the police for a sermon in which he asserted that civil partnerships undermine marriage.