It's Time To Prohibit Hate Speech
First, there is a recent news story from Canada about a Quebec radio personality that has been suspended from his job and is under investigation for violating Canada's hate speech law. Quebec is in the midst of an election campaign and one of the leading candidates for premier is openly gay. The radio personality is in trouble because he said that he didn't think that factory workers would vote for a gay candidate. What?! Compare that to the recent statements by Ann Coulter! The Canadians are wise enough to understand that free speech is an absolute, absolutely nowhere. Speech has always been regulated, so why not use the law to inhibit speech that is designed to diminish and discourage minorities from participating fully in society.
Next, Iowa did it. They now have a law aimed at prohibiting the bullying of gay students. Have no doubt, it will make that state a much better place for everybody to live, especially gay people no matter what age they are. When children learn in school that it is not ok to harass gay people, they will carry that critical learning home with them and into adulthood, making it far less likely that gay people will face harassment on the streets of their neighborhoods in the future.
My husband and I have had many experiences of being harassed by people that are young enough to be our children and even grandchildren. What are people teaching their kids? Obviously, we can't rely on people to prepare their children for life in a diverse world or even to teach them the most basic respect for their fellow human beings. And parents aren't the only ones to blame. Irresponsible religious leaders exploiting the worst in people, politicians doing the same and media people are all contributors.
I think it's time for this debate to begin. The mere debate over this type of law, I believe will have a chilling effect on would be harassers. Most people don't really follow the news very closely. They would hear of the proposed law being discussed and assume it was actually the law. The benefits of such a proposal to gay people would be immediate.
Labels: hate speech