While checking pinknews, a European gay news service, I chanced upon a story exposing the Orwellian nature of some Hate Crimes legislation. Just like in Canada, it seems that all it takes for a crime to take place in the United Kingdom is for some person to be offended by someone else’s remarks. In this case, to be sure, the remarks were offensive:
The Police Service of Northern Ireland will investigate whether the wife of the province’s First Minister is guilty of a hate crime after she called homosexuality disgusting, loathsome, nauseating, wicked and vile.
Andrew Muir, the vice chair of Gay and Lesbian across Down, visited Bangor Police Station yesterday evening to report Mrs Iris Robinson MP for stirring up hatred and arousing fear as a result of her comments earlier that day on BBC Radio Ulster.
Couldn’t Mr. Muir have better spent his time requesting time on BBC Radio to take issue with Mrs. Robinson’s ignorant and intemperate remarks? But, to accuse her of a crime? Give me a break.
Commenting on a recent attack on Stephen Scott, a gay man, Mrs. Robinson “suggested that he should consider therapy to ‘cure’ him of his homosexuality.” Sounds like somebody’s trying to blame the victim for his assault. She even recommended a psychiatrist who could helped effect that “cure.” (The BBC has more on the Scott assault (via TowleRoad).
We don’t need any investigation to show that her comments are boorish, ignorant and narrow-minded. Hateful ignorance alone does not (or at least shouldn’t) amount to a hate crime. In this case, sensible people should castigate rather than have police investigate.
After all, wouldn’t it be a better use of the police’s time to investigate a real crime, that perpetrated against Stephen Scott, a man who suffered real injuries? If they’re investigating the narrow-minded wife of a politician, they would have fewer resources to devote to the investigation of this crime.
And while the police are investigating the violent crime, their real job, gay activists like Mr. Muir can do their job and stand up for gay people, particularly after such a prominent figure publicly misrepresented us.
It seems the police in Northern Ireland are doing more to investigate the ignorant remarks made by a politician’s wife than the Dutch police are doing to investigate the brutal beating of a gay man by a gang of Muslim thugs.
ADDENDUM: Mrs. Robinson’s husband, the First Minister of the Six Counties, “has said that he is committed to his legal obligations to fight discrimination.”
UPDATE: Over the Corner, a report on a the action of a “human rights’ tribunal” in Canada’s Alberta province where the Rev. Stephen Boissoin has been fined because he “wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper in Alberta condemning the “‘homosexual agenda.’” He has now been enjoined from making “disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.”
Amazing. I disagree with what this guy has to say, but will defend his right to say it. How else can we counter such attitudes unless we know what anti-gay people are saying?