On Sunday, the Swiss public voted in overwhelming majority — over 63 percent — to criminalize the public expression of “homophobia.”
“This is a historic day,” Mathias Reynard, a politician from the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland who initiated the reform, told Swiss channel RTS 1, “It gives a signal which is magnificent for everyone and for anyone who has been a victim of discrimination”
Under the new law, speaking publicly against homosexuals — including public preaching of the gospel or references to biblical texts against homosexuality — would be criminalized while private conversation among families and friends would not be. It is unclear if the law extends to church settings. However, it is clear that Christian evangelism among homosexuals would be criminalized.
The law is an addendum to an older law already criminalizing discrimination based on race or sex which was endorsed by 55 percent of the nation in 1995.
The opponents of the law actually forced the referendum but according to reports, admitted defeat early in the day vowing to keep an eye on the law and continuing to fight against it. “We will keep a close eye on the implementation of the law and want to make sure that the freedom of expression remains guaranteed,” David Trachsel of the referendum committee said.
Many European countries have already banned public speech against “homophobia,” for example, Scotland does not allow the public preaching and references to biblical texts against homosexuality. Open-air preachers in many of these countries must be careful not to “offend” homosexuals or face citations or even arrest for breaking “homophobia” laws.
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