Justice Secretary Jack Straw today announced plans to “make inciting hatred against gay people” a criminal offence, the BBC reports.
Said Straw: “It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on the basis of their sexuality. It is time for the law to recognise this.”
This is London clarifies the measure: “The new law aims to catch those who do not explicitly call for attacks or discrimination against homosexuals, as this is covered by existing incitement laws. Instead, police will be allowed to pursue those who create an ‘atmosphere or climate' in which hatred or bullying can be fostered. Officials said it would not prohibit criticism of gay, lesbian and bisexual people or joke-telling. The final decision over who has ‘crossed the line' will rest with the police.”