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How free is your speech really? - Ed's journal
sobrique
sobrique
How free is your speech really?
It seems another thing may be comment worthy on the subject of free speech.
A court case was won today.
A gay couple, who won a case against a B&B, who refused to let them sleep in a double bed.

This I think, is a good thing. The refusal was 'on religious grounds', and I'm quite pleased with the result.

However, that isn't what's prompted me to get out the keyboard. What has, is that someone high profile has decided to contest the ruling, by posting the address of the couple concerned on twitter.
Something which has give me pause to think - what do I think of _that_ in the context of previous posts on freedom of speech.

And my first thought is - I'd be considering posting my name, address and a veiled threat on Twitter to be at least as offensive as the previous cases.
Which for the sake of reference, in one case covered being sexually explicit about an abducted (and presumed murdered) 5 year old on facebook, and in the other wearing a t-shirt that supported the murder of two police officers.

I am very much hoping to see the gentleman in question in court, and would very much hope he got at least as much of a sentence as the other individuals.

As to the broader question? Well, I'm not sure how I'd compare it if I'm honest. I think willfully violating someone's privacy - especially in a context which encourages harm to them - to be more like criminal behavior than being the 'ordinary' kind of obnoxious and offensive.

And maybe as such, something that warrants the protection of law, where maybe 'just' being offensive might not.
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Comments
ehrine From: ehrine Date: October 19th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
If the tweet is the one I heard about earlier on PM (which came up while they couple were being interviewed), they're already planning on reporting it to the police, both from the aspect of the threat (I.E. do the police need to provide some protection etc) and the content of the tweet itself.

As for the verdict, I'm glad it was given the way it was, especially as the B&B owner tried to claim it wasn't the fact they were gay that was the issue, but they weren't committed (I.E. in a civil partnership). The fact that apparently they didn't say that to the couples face and also didn't ask to see if they had a partnership or not and don't ask heterosexual couples for a marriage certificate basically showed that to be a load of bollocks.

The other argument that the B&B is also their family home and they should have the right to have their own beliefs respected in that is, perhaps, valid to an extent. Their beliefs should be respected, but not when they impinge on someone else and while a business has the right to refuse service to someone, they don't have the right to refuse on grounds of sexual orientation (which is as bad as refusing on the grounds of race or religion if you ask me).
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