“Homophobic” Speech Ruling Overturned in France
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
PARIS, November 17, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A judgment against a French parliamentarian for "homophobic" hate speech was overturned by the nation’s Court of Appeals last week.
Deputy Christian Vanneste was convicted in 2006 of "homophobic" speech after stating in 2004 that "homosexuality is inferior to heterosexuality. If it were universalized it would be dangerous for humanity." He also called the behavior of homosexuals "bigoted."
The French Court of Appeals overturned the lower court ruling, remarking that "if the disputed remarks were able to hurt the feelings of certain homosexual people, their contents do not go beyond the limits of freedom of expression."
The negation of the lower court’s $4,000 fine for Vanneste’s remarks was denounced by homosexualist organizations across the country.
"This decision of the Court of Appeals will unfortunately lead homophobes to believe that they can express their hate with complete impunity," complained the French organization "Gaylib" on their website. "This is precisely what the (anti-homophobia) law of 2004 sought by the government of Jean Pierre Raffarin was meant to fight."
"This decision could harm fragile gains" made by the homosexual movement, remarked representatives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center of Paris. The organization lamented that "the struggle against homophobia is floundering."
France’s "ACT UP" claimed that "the legislature gave the means to prosecute offenses based on sexual orientation precisely because society has begun to realize the impact of homophobia. The decision of the appeals court put all of that in doubt."
"The communication tactics of the gay lobby are habitual," said Vanneste in an interview with the Evangelical Protestant Committee for Human Dignity. "They’ve been effective, and they’re not going to stop using them."
"They consist in victimization, and distortions made in bad faith every time they meet an obstacle. The Court of Appeals seeks to say very clearly that I have expressed perfectly acceptable opinions within a framework of normal democratic debate," Vanneste continued. "I would like to add that they are founded on good sense, and they are shared by the majority. They consist in particular in saying that one can obviously judge behavior on a moral level."
In his defense, Vanneste’s attorney brought forth philosophical, theological, and legal arguments in favor of his client, and called two philosophy professors and a pastor to the stand to testify.
"I made an exaggerated statement based on the categorical imperative of Kant," Vanneste said during the trial. "There are concepts that one can universalize and others that one can’t. The first are the greater. That is a justification for the foundation of morality."
Vanneste also quoted Augustine’s dictum that one must "love the sinner but hate the sin," and added that "homosexuality is morally inferior, according to the Christian concept of the family and matrimony."