Should the U.S. Have Laws Banning Anti-Gay Hate Speech?

By: Daniel Villarreal
11.26.2012

It has been proven that the more that LGBT youths hear anti-gay rhetoric, the more they consider suicide.

But while we may hate hearing the so-called Family Research Council call homosexuals a bunch of pedophiles, or see the Westboro Baptist Church at veteran funerals carrying signs that insinuate "Fags Cause Dead Soldiers," would we really want a federal law banning such speech?

Before you answer, you should hear the cautionary tale of UK gay rights activist Peter Tatchell. Tatchell lives in England, which has a law (Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act) forbidding “insulting words or behaviour.” The law was used to prosecute Tatchell when he protested against anti-gay Islamic extremists:

"In 1994, I organised a small peaceful protest against the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, some of whose members had endorsed the killing of Jews, homosexuals, apostates and women who have sex outside of marriage. I displayed placards that factually documented the persecution of gay people by Islamist fanatics. I was arrested and charged under Section 5 with behaviour that was deemed insulting and likely to cause distress. I fought the charges and eventually won, but not before spending many hours in police cells and standing trial."

Unlike U.S. laws against libel and slander, the U.K. law does not require proof of malicious intent or that anyone was actually offended by the speech.

The law was even used to prosecute a college student who called a policeman's horse gay.

So what do you think? Check out the video below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Tags: POLITICS
READER COMMENTS ()