European Court of Human Rights: Critics of Homosexuality don’t enjoy freedom of opinion

Posted on | February 16, 2012 by J.C. von Krempach, J.D. |

In Sweden, critics of homosexuality risk being sent to jail. And the European Court of Human Rights, demonstrating once again its complete and utter failure to protect the fundamental rights enshrined in the European Rights Convention, finds that this constitutes no violation of the freedom of opinion.

freedom of opinion is for homosexual activists - but not for their opponents...

The facts of the case (Vejdeland and others v. Sweden, Appl. No 1813/07) are as follows: In December 2004 the applicants, together with three other persons, went to an upper secondary school (gymnasieskola) and distributed approximately a hundred leaflets by leaving them in or on the pupils’ lockers. The episode ended when the school’s principal intervened and made them leave the premises. The leaflets contained, inter alia, the following statements:

“Homosexual Propaganda (Homosexpropaganda)
In the course of a few decades society has swung from rejection of homosexuality and other sexual deviances (avarter) to embracing this deviant sexual proclivity (böjelse). Your anti-Swedish teachers know very well that homosexuality has a morally destructive effect on the substance of society (folkkroppen) and will willingly try to put it forward as something normal and good.
– Tell them that HIV and AIDS appeared early with the homosexuals and that their promiscuous lifestyle was one of the main reasons for this modern-day plague gaining a foothold.
– Tell them that homosexual lobby organisations are also trying to play down (avdramatisera) paedophilia, and ask if this sexual deviation (sexuella avart) should be legalised.”

For distributing the leaflets, the applicants were charged with
agitation against a national or ethnic group (hets mot folkgrupp). They were convicted to imprisonment by the District Court, but the judgment was overturned by a Court of Appeal. Finally the Supreme Court confirmed the judgment of the District Court by a narrow 5-3 majority.

It is certainly problematic that the applicants distributed their leaflets at a school, i.e. at a place that should be sheltered from any kind of propaganda. But that is not really the issue here. Firstly, what is at the origin of the dispute is not anti-homosexual propaganda, but the propaganda of homosexual lifestyles that is forced upon minors through the school curricula. If a school is not the right place for propaganda, then it is precisely the promotion of this homosexualist ideology (which certainly holds no better claim to legitimacy than anything the applicants have written in their leaflets) that needs to be questioned in the first place.

Secondly, it appears that the applicants were not convicted fore spreading propaganda at a school, but for expressing critical views about homosexuality. It seems at least doubtful that they would have been convicted for having expressed any other political opinion, for example criticism against the ACTA.

A vulnerable ethnic minority??

It is an obvious absurdity for the Swedish Courts to frame the case as “agitation against an ethnic group”. What is at issue here, is obviously not ethnicity, but a behaviour that is considered as socially acceptable by some, while it is viewed as perverse and morally reprehensible by others. But certainly, the child of Swedish parents remains a Swede, irrespective of its sexual proclivities: by turning homosexual it does not change its ethnicity. Indeed, if homosexuals are a vulnerable ethnic or cultural minority, why not thieves, tax evaders, or child molesters? The discussion around homosexuality has nothing to do with a majority/minority conflict, but all with conflicting views on moral issues. Framing criticism of homosexuality as “agitation against an ethnic group” is thus a patent absurdity, and indeed looks like a deliberate misinterpretation of the law, with the purpose of gagging those daring to oppose the current political correctness.

A decisive argument seems to have been that the statements quoted above were “more offensive than necessary”. But were they really? As so often, the Court does not give an explanation for what appears to be the core of its argument. As such, the statements contained in the leaflets seem factually correct. Society has indeed swung from rejection to embracing homosexuality, without any new scientific insight as to the nature and origin of this proclivity. At best, this can be explained as a collective change of (subjective) opinion – but that would not explain why an individual citizen should not have the right to adhere to, and promote, the views that were the prevailing ones not very long ago.

It also is objectively true that homosexuality is a deviant form of sexuality. If sexuality serves the purpose of procreating, then a sexual urge that is directed to other persons than those of the opposite sex and of appropriate age is misdirected. This is a fact that will not change, even if a government wants to prevent this truth from being told.

Finally, there is absolutely no serious doubt that – at least in the developed countries of which Sweden is a part – homosexuality is one of the main factors contributing to the propagation of HIV/AIDS, a disease that first appeared within the gay community, and that, correspondingly, men having sex with men, are the group with the highest risk of infection. This has been confirmed over and again by scientific research. According to a recent study, the AIDS rate is 50 times higher among homosexuals than among the rest of the population. Similar findings exist with regard to a number of other diseases, such as syphilis. The medical community has known for decades: the homosexual lifestyle is extremely high-risk and often leads to disease and even death. But in Sweden, this truth appears not to be welcome…

It appears self-evident and does not require any further comment that convicting four young persons to jail sentences for having said the truth about homosexuality is not only completely disproportionate. This is not a question of proportionality – even if the sanction had consisted in a small pecuniary fine, the very fact that the utterance of such opinions is prohibited amounts to a blatant violation of the freedom of speech. Indeed, the law that is put to such use is a law that is directed against truth itself.

Are such laws, as the ECHR Judges have held, “necessary in a democratic society”? Obviously not. Most democratic societies don’t have and don’t want such laws.

In having found no violation of Article 10 of the Convention, the European Court of Human Rights sadly has gone one further step in de-legitimising itself as well as the Convention of which it is the guardian. Apparently, the Strasbourg judges are still slow in taking David Cameron’s recent hint on “controversial rulings having a corrosive effect on people’s support for human rights”…

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Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.

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