Campaigners seek to stop homophobic incitement

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Gay charity Stonewall has received around £10,000 of donations towards plans for a campaign to stop incitement of anti gay hatred.

The lobby group want homophobic incitement to be included in the next Criminal Justice Bill, which would make it illegal for anti gay statements to be made on public platforms such as in musical lyrics or political campaigns.

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said there is a definite link towards homophobia in cases where people incite gay hatred.

He told “We will be pushing for the inclusion of the offence of incitement to homophobic hatred that matches similar offences such as race and religion.

“We are now persuaded that this is needed if you look at things said by the BNP and Christian Voice.”

There have been a spate of murders in the gay community in the last year including Jody Dobrowski on Clapham Common, Michael Fardon in Northampton and most recently 67-year-old Malcolm Bryan, who was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell in a block of flats in Portsmouth last month.

Additionally groups such as the BNP and Christian Voice have been vocal in their opposition towards gay rights.

A BNP spokesman recently told that homosexuality should not be promoted as equal to a straight lifestyle, he said: “The word gay means happy, we have no problem with being happy.

“Some unfortunate people suffer from homosexuality so we will just have to tolerate them. If I was one I would be ashamed and would remain celibate.”

The BNP has also voiced support for Christian Voice leader Stephen Green, who regularly appears with his group at gay events chanting anti gay slogans and avoided prosecution last week for using threatening behaviour at a recent Cardiff pride event.

Homophobic incitement is an issue recently raised by the Gay Police Association in a controversial advert which suggested that religious statements have in some cases led to homophobic incidents.

Gay campaigners have also expressed opposition to homophobic lyrics which appear to encourage killing gay people in songs by artists such as Buju Banton and Beenie Man.

Currently the Racial and Religious Hatred Act protects against incitement towards someone based on their race or religion.

Mr Summerskill said he will be waiting for the government to produce the next Criminal Justice Bill and will then seek an amendment to include homophobic hatred in the law.