Den skotske regjeringens dypt kontroversielle forslag til lov om hatkriminalitet ble vedtatt i det skotske parlamentet.
Lovforslaget om hatkriminalitet og offentlig orden (Skottland) vil gjøre det til en kriminell handling å ytre “hat” mot visse grupper, og det er fortsatt bekymringer for at det vil påvirke ytringsfriheten, inkludert private samtaler i hjemmet.
Mens den opprinnelige lovforslaget utgjorde en stor trussel mot evangelisering og kristen kommentar til seksuell etikk, er det imidlertid gjort betydelige endringer for å hindre at det ikke skjer. Det skriver The Christian Institute.
When it was first proposed, anything deemed ‘likely’ to stir up hatred was to be a criminal offence, but this was altered so that it is now necessary for ‘intent’ to be proven.
There will also be more robust protections for religious debate, which will protect the freedom to proclaim the Gospel. A section of the Bill which would have criminalised those in possession of ‘inflammatory materials’, which could have included the Bible, has been removed entirely.
And a free speech clause was added protecting discussion and criticism of matters relating to transgender identity.
‘Rhetoric and reality’
The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert thanked CI supporters and those involved in the Institute-backed Free to Disagree campaign for their efforts in improving the Bill.
He said: “‘Tackling hatred’ sounds a noble cause. But rhetoric and reality are not the same thing. The original Bill was so broad it could have seen people prosecuted simply for explaining Christian sexual ethics.”
“The Scottish Government came under unprecedented pressure and was forced to concede several key changes to its plans.
“Yes, it would have been better to have dropped Part 2, the section on stirring up hatred, completely. But if you were one of those who took action: thank you. Free speech in Scotland is safer because of you.”