The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its attempt to repeal a free speech protection from a sexual orientation 'hatred' law.
Peers voted by 186 to 133 to keep the protection in place. The matter will be passed back to the
House of Commons where MPs voted for repeal.
The protection makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct or encouraging people to refrain from such conduct is not a crime.
The Government says the protection is not necessary, insisting
that the homophobic hatred offence would not catch the expression of such beliefs.
Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: Genuine supporters of free speech will be pleased with this result. Democracy
depends on the freedom of people to challenge ideas, to dispute with each other, to contend for what they believe. Too many Christians have already been intimidated by over-zealous police action because they gave voice to their views on sexual ethics.
Surely the world is big enough to allow all sides to express their beliefs about sexual behaviour without fearing a knock on the door from the police. [But I wonder of he is so keen to defend free speech when it is religion
that is being criticised]