Tuesday, 30 March 2010
UK's New Law Against HOMOPHOBIC HATRED
This March 2010, UK once again has taken a step forward to show equality in their country particularly on treating homosexuals living there. The law takes in effect, which makes it criminal to 'stir' homophobic hatred, be it in words,behaviour or material that is threatening in nature.
This new law is very important to address the many websites and material stirring anti-gay hatred. Due to words being included in this new law, another area that will be put under scrutiny is song lyrics. This has the potential to stop, or at least minimise it.
It is also important to note that in London alone, 1,192 homophobic offences were reported in the year to September 09, up from 1,008 the previous year - a rise of 18.3% and an average of almost 3 per day. Most attacks go unreported.
There have been several concerns from religious leaders and comedians, that with the passing and implication of the new law, they will be criminalised by it.
However, the law will not impede freedom of speech, and the House of Lords have passed an amendment that will protect those who “urge gays to turn straight” or who “criticise homosexuality”. The amendment was tabled by Conservative party member Lord Waddington, the former Home Secretary under Margaret Thatcher. The amendment was made in such a way that it “allows the ‘discussion or criticism’ of sexual practices”, without those participating being prosecuted for it.
The new law will, however, “help prevent and tackle acts of serious hatred against individuals defined by reference to their sexual orientation, with a high threshold for prosecutions which must be approved by the Attorney General and heard before a jury.” Convictions of such offences could lead the offender to a fine, or up to a 7 year prison sentence.