Thinking Anglicans

Waddington amendment upheld in Lords

For the background to this, see bishops oppose repeal of Waddington.

The relevant bill reached the House of Lords this week, and as the Independent reports,

Peers today defeated the Government’s attempt to overturn a “free speech” defence to the law on homophobic hatred.

The move by Tory former Home Secretary Lord Waddington to uphold the provision was passed by 186 votes to 133, majority 53.

Read ‘Free speech’ defeats incitement laws by Nicholas Randall and Anthony Looch, Press Association.

The BBC also reports it as Labour defeat on incitement laws.

Riazat Butt has written a comment article on Cif belief Free speech or homophobia?

…The Bishop of Winchester, a senior Anglican cleric, said: “What is at stake is whether this House and this Parliament intends to outlaw, among not just Christians but others, open discussion and teaching of views that differ from the currently dominant political orthodoxy.”

Some peers, as well as the Ministry of Justice, were disappointed with today’s result, saying the free speech provision would be used as a defence by those looking to incite hatred towards gays and lesbians.

In what was portrayed as a battle for free speech, a coalition of Anglican bishops, Conservative peers, Labour malcontents and leading crossbenchers united to block the proposals…

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drdanfee
drdanfee
11 years ago

Riazat B asks, (rhetorically?): What do the bishops fear, if not the improbable option that the new law would have led to their automatic prosecution for hate speech? Indeed. While the various religious conservative communities loudly pat themselves on the back – always, no matter what? – for never, ever, ever wishing or unintentionally happening to stir up negatives towards, say, queer folks? – a couple of themes, variously expressed or costumed, seem quite clear to the rest of us who have to listen to them congratulate themselves, so loudly, and so very often. One them is: I KNOW better… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
11 years ago

Behind the religious curtains, one easily glimpses the message from antigay believers: I must never be faced with people or evidence, contrary to my flat earth-isms about queer folks. As a religious believer-citizen, I must be left undisturbed in the closed bubble of my own special revelation. Thus, I may occupy the only possible real moral realm. My rights to protect myself from alternative ideas – and the other people who might hold them – trumps. In workplaces, schools, public squares, assemblies, I need never, ever come down from my special religious revelation high horse. I shall never, ever have… Read more »

John-Julian, OJN
John-Julian, OJN
11 years ago

I’ve read this inside out and backwards, and I simply cannot figure it out. As I (somewhat) understand it the “Waddington Amendment” seems simply to make the statute/law explicit in forbidding threatening public speech or writing against homosexuals. And some bishops are bent out of shape fearing that they will be unable to speak/preach against homosexual behavior if the amendment is accepted. And Labour is also against the amendment (for some reason I cannot fathom.) And, as far as I can understand it, the House of Lords has now accepted and passed the “Waddington Amendment” in spite of the bishops’… Read more »

Pluralist
11 years ago

For the very first time I’ve sent a complaint to OFCOM after casually bumping into Genesis TV about 1:15 am when in quick succession a caller offended homosexuals, Islam and Roman Catholicism, and the presenter was in full agreement with his believing brother. It was offensive material and crossed a line even when you expect this from Christian-Zionist fundies. This Waddington Amendment and its defence seems to allow such speech to be made: if derogatory and threatening speech was not acceptable transmitted into the public space then a station like Genesis-Revelation TV would have to think hard how it framed… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

What DrDan said!

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“some bishops are bent out of shape fearing that they will be unable to speak/preach against homosexual behavior if the amendment is accepted.”

Which is why they need to be asked, publically and repeatedly, why it is that they seem unable to even conceive of a way to preach a message of celibacy for homosexuals without resorting to hate speech. It is quite funny, actually, how conservatives seem absolutely incapable of understanding that threat, misrepresentation, and condemnation are NOT actually good tools for evangelism in the modern age, whatever they might once have worked to frighten the lowly into conformity.

Terence Dear
Terence Dear
11 years ago

Dear John Julian, Last year, a member of the House of Lords managed to get inserted into legislation that was going through Parliament a clause that said if you were put on trial for inciting hatred against homosexuals you could defend yourself by claiming that you were exercising your right to free speech. This week, the Government tried to have that clause removed, arguing that the bar was already set high enough to allow for genuine remarks and debate about homosexuality to take place without the ‘incitement to hatred’ law being broken. Also, that the ‘free speech’ defense would in… Read more »

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

Pluralist, I realize that the Mother Country is different than the Colonies across the Pond, but if all the caller did was to bluntly say that (in so many words) gay people, Muslims, and Roman Catholics were not very nice people, and the caller would never dine with them, then it is unfortunate that the caller feels that way, and that the host agreed, but isn’t this precisely within the confines of free speech that our dear brothers and sisters in opposition are concerned about? I detest people who hide behind religion, morals, norms and history to proclaim that GLBT… Read more »

toby forward
11 years ago

I can’t think of a better example of why bishops should be reformed out of a new House of Lords. Not only do they not represent the views of the community, they don’t even represent the views of most members of the C of E.

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