poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A Gay & Lesbian Legal Guide to Internet Hate
Christopher Wolf

In April, Canada passed a law banning homophobic hate speech, and gay-bashing online was the target of the new law. Despite its noble intentions such a law would never pass muster in the United States.

As a gay man, I know how hurtful homophobic hate speech can be, and how it serves to stir up the worst in haters, who may well translate hateful words into hateful conduct – such as gay bashing. As chair of the Internet Policy Committee of the Anti-Defamation League, I have studied how widely the Internet may be misused to disseminate messages of hate and violence.

As a lawyer specializing in Internet law, I am also well aware of the challenges faced by legislators, law enforcement and national governments to keep up with the daily barrage of hate propaganda on the Internet. Our First Amendment permits even the most repugnant hate speech, unless it crosses a line – the line that threatens real, physical harm to identifiable persons. Hate speech constituting threats or inspiring real attacks can be prosecuted; the rest of hate speech online is the price we pay for free speech. This framework is probably best, as I will explain.


Judge Reserves Decision In Arkansas Gay Foster Ban
by Newscenter Staff

(Little Rock, Arkansas) A Little Rock judge Wednesday reserved judgment in a challenge to the state's ban on gays serving as foster parents. The ban is so sweeping it even precludes heterosexuals who may have a gay adult in their home.

Circuit Judge Tim Fox said he likely would not rule for about three months. He set a hearing for Dec. 20 in case he needs to hear more testimony.

The last witness on the stand was psychologist George Rekers, a University of South Carolina professor who also is an ordained Southern Baptist minister.

Rekers is a founder of the conservative Family Research Council, and has a history of anti-gay views, relying on the research of Paul Cameron, whose work has been discredited by psychiatric professional groups. Rekers also practices so-called "conversion therapy" which claims to "cure" gay people


Gay unions a global issue

South African homosexual couples can adopt children; in Zanzibar gay marriages are illegal and Canada recently granted the world's first same-sex divorce.

In the debate over whether same-sex couples should enjoy the same legal recognition as heterosexual couples, New Zealand joins a number of nations juggling issues of equality, heritage, morality and religion.
Our closest neighbour, physically and culturally, Australia, banned gay marriage in August through a law which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Prime Minister John Howard, who has said marriage is the bedrock institution of Australian society, rushed the bill through Parliament, ensuring it would not become a divisive election issue.


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