The Swiss parliament wants to extend the scope of anti-racism legislation to include the prohibition of homophobic comments. Opponents of this change have submitted a referendum. “Criminal law is not an instrument of socio-political governance,” says Michael Frauchiger.
The legal amendment, approved by parliament last year, will come to a nationwide vote on February 9.
As a homosexual, I am firmly committed to fighting the extension of the anti-racism article. I believe we must clearly emphasize that granting special protection to homosexuals contradicts the equal treatment of homosexual or bisexual people. This is also the view of the other founders of the committee against special rightsexternal link. The members and supporters of our committee come from the Radical Party, the Christian Democratic Party, the Liberals and the Swiss People's Party.
This support proves that not all members of the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) community agree with the misleading assertion that the law can eliminate hatred and denigration.
It also shows that not all LGBTIQ people have succumbed to the ideological terror of the left wing. At this point, I should again like to reiterate something that should go without saying: Like heterosexuals, LGBTIQ people are a heterogeneous sample of the population.
We have diverse political positions and values – many are found to the left of the political spectrum, others in the centre and yet others on the right. Saying that the entire LGBTIQ community supports this censorship law is thus false and simplistic.
We are not weak and do not need protection
I am fighting for my sexual orientation to be accepted and regarded as normal. But for me, normalisation also means not demanding special rights. Special protection would stigmatise LGBTIQ people by portraying them as weak. However, we are not weak. We do not need special protection from the state.
I am attacked much more frequently because of my role as a People's Party politician than because of my homosexuality. The Swiss are not a “homophobic” people; an overwhelming majority of them have a positive attitude towards us. Of course, any kind of discrimination or aggression must be combatted.
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There are already enough instruments
Acts of violence and incitement to violence have long been punishable offences. Our criminal code provides sufficient instruments to defend ourselves against attacks on our honour, defamation, name-calling and threats.
The only gaps in the law are the following:
• There is no law with which to fight against discriminatory statements made in general terms.
• Only the individuals concerned may file a complaint, not associations (for example, organisations defending LGBTIQ rights).
Tolerance is an inner attitude
On the pretext of tolerance, the advocates of this censorship law want to banish certain opinions from democratic discourse. Tolerance is an inner attitude. It cannot be imposed by criminal law.
Criminal law can not be used as an instrument of socio-political governance. Anyone who seeks to improve the world with the help of criminal law will end up being disappointed and weakening the rule of law. This is extremely dangerous in a democracy.
Soon we shall probably be able to vote on marriage for all. But how can we have a decent political debate on the issue if our opponents are muzzled and constantly afraid of being accused of racial discrimination by leftist circles?
The essence of freedom of expression is the right to say things that other people do not like. It does not mean being influenced by current social trends and censoring the opinions of minorities.
Freedom of expression, speech and counter-speech are the foundations of our democracy. We are being sold “protection against discrimination”, whereas what we are dealing with here is actually a censorship law that threatens freedom of opinion, freedom of conscience and freedom of trade, while not solving any problems.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of swissinfo.ch.
Translated from French by Julia Bassam/urs, swissinfo.ch