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'If a charge was brought against a saintly religious leader whose intention was to save souls ⋯': An analysis of UK parliamentary debates over incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

Vanderbeck, RM and Johnson, P (2011) 'If a charge was brought against a saintly religious leader whose intention was to save souls ⋯': An analysis of UK parliamentary debates over incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation Parliamentary Affairs, 64 (4). pp. 652-673.

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Abstract

This article considers contemporary Parliamentary approaches to law-making in respect of homosexuality and religious belief through an analysis of debates regarding the creation of the offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation (Section 74 and Schedule 16 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008). By far the most contentious issue in debates about the legislation concerned the types of speech that would be captured by the offence, with skeptics and opponents arguing that the legislation risked criminalising religious believers who voiced objections to homosexuality. The analysis specifically examines how legislators shaped the construction of the law by drawing on representations of ‘traditional’ Christians and other religious believers as a minority group needing protection from unwarranted complaints and investigations, and by placing them within an equalities hierarchy where religion and sexual orientation are seen to be in competition. Parliamentarians repeatedly weighed religion and sexual orientation in relation to one another as categories worthy of protection and, in doing so, often represented religiously based opposition to homosexuality as a legitimate rationale for limiting the scope of the protections available to gays and lesbians by law. The analysis identifies a number of shifts and tendencies in Parliamentary rhetoric about homosexuality that require ongoing attention, especially within the context of the new coalition government.

Item Type: Article
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Vanderbeck, RMUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Johnson, Pp.johnson@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Date : 4 October 2011
Identification Number : https://doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsr022
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:11
Last Modified : 16 May 2017 15:11
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/817814

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