The Christian Institute

News Release

Stonewall wants ‘gay hate’ law to censor Christians

On the day that MPs hear evidence about the proposed ‘gay hate’ law from the Chief Executive of Stonewall, Christians are highlighting concerns that Stonewall wants to use the law to censor Christians. Christian groups have obtained a copy of an email sent by Mr Summerskill in which he criticises the “shocking” conduct of the Metropolitan Police for failing to stop a Christian demonstration outside Parliament.

The peaceful demonstration took place on 9 January 2007. It concerned a religious liberties protest by Christians against the Sexual Orientation Regulations. In an email dated 14 February 2007 and not made public until now, Ben Summerskill said that he was “shocked that the Metropolitan Police gave some fringe protesters permission to demonstrate outside Parliament…carrying posters inciting hatred against gay people”. [Stonewall Ebulletin]

The protest fully complied with instructions issued by the Metropolitan Police. One homosexual journalist who attended the protests reported, “People were singing and brandishing placards reading ‘Cry Freedom’, ‘Christians Awake’ or ‘Back the Bible'”. According to the BBC around 1,000 mostly traditionalist Christians attended the demonstration. Subsequently the High Court backed their concerns. It ruled that some of the Sexual Orientation Regulations were unlawful and that others could lead to unlawful breaches of religious liberties protected by the Human Rights Act.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said today,

“Tolerance is a two way street. We have defended the rights of people, including Ben Summerskill, to criticise religious belief. Now we learn that Stonewall wants the police to ban Christian demonstrations.

“There have already been an alarming number of cases where gay rights supporters have called in the police just because they’re offended when a religious believer says that homosexual practice is wrong.

“The Bishop of Chester, The RC Archbishop of Glasgow, Lynette Burrows (a RC journalist) and Sir Iqbal Sacranie (a prominent Muslim) all faced police investigations for stating their religious beliefs on homosexuality. When the Dean of Sydney Cathedral spoke at Cambridge University the police were also called in for the same reason. Pensioners Joe and Helen Roberts were interrogated for 80 minutes by Lancashire police because they telephoned the Council over its policies to promote gay rights. Significantly Peter Tatchell (but not Stonewall) condemned the actions of the police.

“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. People shouldn’t face the threat of a seven year prison sentence for expressing their sincerely-held religious beliefs.”