Scotland passes law punishing anti-gay comments at football games

Dylan Vox | April 05, 2007

EDINBURGH — The next time you visit Scotland and plan on making an antigay comment at a sports game, you better think twice. The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland have set new guidelines would subject anyone who made any anti-gay comments at football matches to criminal charges. The guidance allows officers to first warn football fans if any such comments are made during a game and then charges and arrests can be made if the action continues.

"We believe it will make a big difference," Inspector David Lyle, Scottish coordinator of the Gay Police Association, told The Scotsman newspaper. "Gay people go to football matches and shouldn't have to listen to all that abuse."

Pink news.co.uk reported that 2 fans have already been charged with disorderly behavior based on anti-gay comments that they made during a match. James Monkhouse and Michael Church, followers of Norwich City, were found guilty by Norwich Magistrates Court after reportedly shouting anti-gay chants aimed at Brighton football club fans.

"The Football Association is leading the way on tackling homophobia in football and our work is becoming recognized across Europe,� the FA�s director of corporate affairs, Simon Johnson, told PinkNews.co.uk. The FA has taken many steps to erase homophobia from the game by hosting an awareness week and embracing a zero-tolerance attitude towards anti-gay language.

The new guidelines may be seen as controversial among football fans in Scotland, who are well known for taunting opponents. Football supporter�s clubs in Scotland said they often used words like 'poof' without any relation to homosexuality. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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