It's always surprised me, paying my taxes and keeping drearily within the letter of the law, that my human rights are negotiable just because I'm gay. Political figures and comedians can seemingly say absurd things about gays and, instead of being criticised or censured for doing so, it is we few who query this remorseless tide of insults and hatred (sometimes overt, sometimes under the guise of “irony”) who are accused of being “politically correct”, “too sensitive” and ignorant of “freedom of speech”.
Suppose an MP described black or Asian people as an abomination and compared them to paedophiles. That MP would surely earn not only the opprobrium of his or her political party but also a visit from the police for inciting racial hatred, be on the news a lot and have to apologise.
The Democratic Unionist MP Iris Robinson, wife of Northern Ireland's First Minister, will not face charges over comments that homosexuality was an abomination akin to paedophilia; that is was “viler” than child abuse and could be “cured”. This is insidious nonsense, but even if it's not inciteful nonsense, she also escaped censure from her party.
The Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary says that if gays have gay sex they should be stoned to death. The good news, unless you are an exhibitionist, is that under Sharia there must be four witnesses. Choudary also equated gay sex with having sex with donkeys. Do those in authority not condemn this because they think it is laughable or because they are frightened to tackle a Muslim cleric? So much bigotry is tied up with an obsession about gay sex, but to conflate what people do in bed with their human rights makes as little sense as comparing homosexuality with bestiality.
There must be a balance between the right to free speech, the right to express one's faith and gay people's right to live equally and free from fear.