Do gays really need the degree of “protection” being offered by overzealous local authorities in the UK?
I think not. And so does the gay Andrew Pierce, the Daily Telegraph’s royalty correspondent, writing in the paper yesterday (Tuesday).
He cites a 67-year-old woman who wrote to Norwich Council to object to a gay pride march. Then she got a visit from the police.
In her letter, she had said that gays were “sodomites” whose “perverted sexual practices” were responsible for spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
He then goes on to repudiate that, saying that other things are more culpable in that department.
But, and quite rightly, he upholds this bigoted woman’s right to say what she said. We can’t legislate against bigotry. We can educate, yes, and we can ensure equality for all – or try to. But there will always be bigots like Mrs Pauline Howe of Norwich.
We’re into the debate over freedom of speech again, and the inevitable consequence of threats to free speech are that free speech will continue to be eroded. Eventually, that erosion of free speech will affect the people who wanted to curb free speech by others in the first place.
But they won’t have seen it coming, because initially it wasn't their freedom of speech that was being trodden on.
“First they came for . . .” wrote Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). You know the rest of the poem, or the gist of it.