Article Title:Religious freedom above all others?
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:31st October 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2080
Text:Concerns have been raised in Britain over the government's decision to establish a single authority to deal with all forms of discrimination, including race, religion and sexual orientation. The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association is angered by the one-size-fits-all approach, arguing that a “hierarchy of discrimination” will be created by the inevitable conflict between upholding religious freedoms and protecting gays and lesbians against discrimination. “We have seen recently how hostile religious organisations are to gay rights, and trying to include anti-discrimination measures to protect both in the same body will prove impossible,” says spokesman Terry Sanderson. If these groups have been monitoring the situation in New Zealand, their concerns would seem to be valid. Two free-to-air television broadcasters recently have defended accusations of breaching the broadcasting code, which pledges to protect discrimination in all forms, by justifying vicious anti-gay religious broadcasts in the name of upholding religious freedoms. The Court of Appeal likewise quashed restrictions in 1997 on two religious anti-gay hate videos which carefully constructed defamatory lies and hatred against gays and lesbians in a manner similar to anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda films of the 1930's, ruling that they were merely expressions of opinion. The Broadcasting Standards Authority is currently delaying debate on these issues of conflict while it decides if religious broadcasts even fit within the realm of their jurisdiction, as they could technically be classed as advertisements because religious groups pay for their time on air, which would pass the buck of responsibility onto the Advertising Standards Authority.    
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