Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Gay Rights vs. Free Speech

There is plenty to disagree with in the rhetoric on the Christian right, especially its less well-spoken "spokespersons". Some of it, frankly, makes one's jaw drop. Attempting to make it a crime on "hate speech" grounds is hardly "liberal" of the supporters of the gay rights movement, however, and I think will ultimately prove to be very detrimental in turning public opinion against it, similar to the current lack of legal restraint in Massachusetts and California. Catholic news service Zenit reports:

[British Anglican] Bishop Peter Forster of Chester told a local paper: "Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves. I would encourage them to consider that as an option, but I would not set myself up as a medical specialist on the subject -- that's in the area of psychiatric health."

Police investigated the statements and a spokesman said a copy of the article would be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. Subsequently, the police dropped the case, the Independent newspaper reported Nov. 11....

In Ireland, meanwhile, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties warned the Catholic Church that distributing the Vatican guidelines on same-sex unions could bring prosecution. The document published last July by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith falls foul of the Incitement to Hatred Act, according to sources quoted in the Irish Times on Aug. 2....

Those convicted under the act could face six-month jail terms. Of the Vatican document [Aisling Reidy, director of the civil-liberties council] said: "The wording is very strong and certainly goes against the spirit of the legislation."

Via the Volokh Conspiracy.

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