PARIS, June 24, 2004 ( – The French Parliament has introduced legislation that will make it a criminal act to make comments in public that are deemed to be offensive to homosexuals. The bill, to be considered next month, says that, “incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person on the basis of gender or sexual orientation” would be punishable by a year in prison or a fine up to $54,000. The French minister of justice, Dominique Perben has followed the trend of equating homosexual “orientation” with race or sex. Perben said, ““This law will put the fight against homophobia on the same level, in terms of possible legal action, as the fight against racism and anti-Semitism.”

The conflict between what homosexual activists call “hate speech” and the freedom to criticize their political ambitions has grown in western democracies. A bill has been introduced in the US by Senator Ted Kennedy to create a “hate crime” provision to prevent criticism of homosexuality.

Boston College professor of Philosophy, and prolific writer, Peter Kreeft, has previously warned against this kind of attempt to legislate ‘tolerance’, “The logical consequence of a society that revolves around not offending anyone is that the bullies will win.”

The freedom of speech organization, Reporters Without Borders, have criticized the French legislation as a threat to freedom of speech, calling it a “real step backwards.” The group said that the measure will curb civil liberties “in a way that conflicts with its laudable aim of protecting certain sectors of the population. The definition of provocation and discrimination is vague and could lead to unjustified prosecutions.”

Gwen Landolt of REAL Women of Canada commented to that the wording of the French legislation resembles the recently passed Canadian hate speech bill. That’s extremely sweeping. The wording suggests that it will be interpreted based on the subjective grounds of personal offence. All these bills have (an alleged victim’s) subjective feelings as their common denominator.” Landolt warned that this kind of legislation is dangerously subject to pressure from special interest groups. ” I thought the French were known for liberty, equality and fraternity, but it looks like they are becoming a very restrictive and frightening nation.”

Reporters Without Borders release: