26 October 2009

Complain to council? Police come visit

Now I don't like Pauline Howe's opinions. I think they are quite vile. She thinks homosexuals are "sodomites" with "perverted sexual practices" who "spread sexually transmitted diseases" and can be blamed for the "downfall of every empire". She identifies herself as Christian, and obviously finds homosexual offensive. True to Voltaire of course I'll disagree with her, but agree with her right to express herself.

She objected, in writing, to Norwich City Council about a gay pride march. The response she got was twofold. Bridget Buttinger (let's call her "Norwich Chief Petty Fascist") replied warning her that she could face criminal charges for expressing such views. Buttinger says as a local authority it had an obligation to "eliminate discrimination of all kinds". Her letter was described as a "hate incident" because it was "motivated by prejudice or hatred".

No doubt it was such motivated. Mrs Howe was expressing an illegal opinion.

The letter concluded stating the matter had been passed to the police. Mrs Howe received a visit from two police officers to question her. Mrs Howe is a 67 year old grandmother, and understandably was quite shaken by the experience.

This is, of course, a total outrage. Mrs Howe should have the freedom of speech to be able to write to the council to complain about a gay pride march. It is her right as a citizen to hold her point of view and express it. She was not threatening ANYONE. She may herself hold views that means she supports the state initiating force, but then so does the entire Labour Party and indeed I bet most of the Conservative Party.

The Christian Institute, a campaign group, is investigating whether the council and police have breached her rights to free speech and religious freedom under the Human Rights Act.

Even Stonewall, a group campaigning for gay rights, believes the actions were disproportionate and are glad the police did not take things further.

It's outrageous. Mrs Howe should have every right to complain as she sees fit, even though I'd regard her views with utter disdain, she does not deserve to be threatened or told that her views are to be "eliminated". She can be told she is wrong, she can be ignored, but not threatened and the waste of police time and effort chasing this up is contemptible.

Yet no major UK political party will confront this.

There is nothing liberal about this - and I do wonder, how often the police confront Islamic preachers about how often they express their anti-homosexual views?

(Full story, Sunday Telegraph)

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