Vocal Christians who oppose gay marriage could face charges for ‘hate speech’ under new banning orders introduced by the Conservatives to crackdown on propagandists and extremists, one MP has warned.
Conservative MP Mark Spencer said teachers with more traditional views on marriage voicing their opinions in classrooms could be prosecuted under new hate speech laws.
In a letter to a constituent seen by the Telegraph, Spencer said the Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs), which will be used to target hate preachers suspected of radicalizing vulnerable young people, could see teachers prosecuted.
“Teachers will still be free to express their understanding of the term ‘marriage,’ and their moral opposition to its use in some situations without breaking the new laws,” he wrote.
“The EDOs, in this case, would apply to a situation where a teacher was specifically teaching that gay marriage is wrong.”
Deputy Director of the Christian Institute Simon Calvert, however, said Christian teachers would be “branded extremists for teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) August 3, 2015
The news follows criticism from London’s Jewish, Muslim and LGBT communities over London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to create an anti-hate crime hotline for reporting abuse.
Collectively, they said the as-yet-unannounced hotline would dissuade victims from reporting any anti-Semitic, Islamophobic or homophobic hostility they face. Three separate charities said the hotline would dilute the effects of already established charities and sever the bonds of trust they rely on function.
The Community Service Trust, a Jewish charity which runs an incident hotline; Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which monitors Islamophobia; and Galop, which records LGBT hate crime, criticized the plans.
“Reporting relies on trust between organizations and their communities, and a one-number, blanket approach ignores this fundamental principle,” Galop Chief Executive Nik Noone said.