I don't believe in "hate crimes". I believe that some crimes occur purely because of irrational hate, but that that doesn't mean they should be treated any differently to other crimes. I understand that I am in the minority on the left, and in the gay "community", but I feel my belief in equality before the law is something I can't compromise.
The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 was thankfully watered down in the House of Lords. Now the Coroners and Justice Bill is going the same way and clauses have been added to protect freedom of speech.
I'm in uncomfortable company when disliking these sort of laws (with the racists, the fundamentalists, the Tories, the insane and the nasty) but fundamentally I believe we should be able to speak freely, however much we might offend each other. Inciting VIOLENCE should always be a crime... whoever it is against. But we should not pick out certain groups for special protection from hatred, when hatred is sadly a common feature of daily life for a huge group of people. We all need equal protection for crime.
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