The debate around proposals to extend the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to include an offence of inciting hate against gay, lesbian and bisexual people. At the top of the week Justice Secretary announced the proposals but they have been heavily criticised – by the LGB community. At least, the “public” face of that community that has criticised the proposals. Columnist Paris pointed out that should these proposals be accepted it would only be a matter of time before jokes about the Welsh or Irish would also be illegal. Whilst I agree with this analysis it seems to me that these arguments could have been applied to previous legal provisions relating to incitement of racial hatred. Read the story at: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-5737.html

Interestingly the campaign group Stonewall welcomed the group which for me is another sign that these is apparently an increasing gulf between campaign organisations like Stonewall and the LGB “masses”. The idea of “inciting hatred” offences is a distinctly New Labour one and not one that has populist roots – in contrast to say moves to equalise the age of consent or repeal section 28. Just as the moves on goods and services seemed badly thought out and the product of out of touch administrators so too does this proposal.

Background documents and ministerial correspondence relating to the Bill can be viewed at:
http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/criminal-justice-bill.htm

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