Last Updated on February 16, 2020
Switzerland recently voted on making homophobia illegal, carrying a maximum penalty of three years in prison as well as hefty fines.
In a referendum made on Sunday 9, 63% of voters–or 41% of the total electorate–voted to criminalize ‘homophobia,’ including “discrimination,” “hate speech,” and public “insults” fired at individuals for their sexual orientation, according to conservative outlet, Caldron Pool.
The New York Times reports that the law “includes comments made on television, messages posted on social media, and discrimination against gay or bisexual people in public venues like restaurants or movie theaters,” and is a part of a law serving to ban discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion, according to Advocate.
Originally, the amendment sought to criminalize anti-trans hate speech too, but was considered too imprecise to codify into the law.
Coca-cola was reported to have taken out adverts in Swiss papers supporting the pro-LGBT legislation.
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland lawmaker, Mathias Reynard, who, in fact, proposed the law said, “Homophobia is not an opinion. It’s a crime.” He continued, “this victory sends a strong signal. I have already received hundreds of reactions.”
The proposal was initially struck down in 2018 as concerns surrounding freedom of speech were raised.
Some view Switzerland as being behind the curve on the subject of LGBT inclusion in relation to the rest of Europe.
Although, at this moment, Switzerland does not allow same-sex marriage, a bill is pending in Parliament to amend the law to rival other European countries’ levels of marriage equality.
Conversely, the law has not been well-received by all.
Christian evangelical party UDF MP Samuel Kullmann, speaking with Premier Christian News, suggested that the law went beyond “outlawing hate.”
He said: “In Finland, a Member of Parliament from the Christian Democrats was questioned by the police numerous times simply for posting a Bible verse on her Twitter account.” He continued, “and she was even questioned for a booklet she wrote 15 years ago about her view on Christian ethics and marriage.”
He went onto say: “In almost every country that has passed a similar law, we find examples that show that it’s actually much more than what most Christians would understand as hate speech.”
National File previously reported on the Christian Democrat who landed in trouble over posting a Bible verse:
Päivi Räsänen, a member of parliament for the Christian Democrats and Finland’s former Interior Minister, landed herself in hot water after daring to criticize the national Evangelical Lutheran Church for their participation in Helsinki’s June pride event.
Her complaint was attached to a picture of Romans 1:24-27 which describes same-sex relationships as “shameful.”
The biblical passage reads:
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.