.- Belgian homosexual activists have brought charges against Bishop AndrÃ©-Mutien LÃ©onard of Namur for homophobia.
Homophobia is a criminal offence in Belgium since the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2003.
In an April interview for the weekly TÃ©lÃ© Moustique, the bishop is said to have described homosexuals as âabnormalâ people.
According to Michel Graindorge, the lawyer for the homosexual activists, the bishop intended to âstigmatizeâ homosexuals, whose âidentity and dignity is debased from the moment that the bishop considers them to be abnormal,â reported the Brussels Journal.
Graindorge warned about the dangers of stigmatization, such as âthe fate the Nazis reserved for [homosexuals].â
The bishop said he never described homosexuals as âabnormalâ. He said he was only referring to their sexual behavior, which deviates from the normal pattern.
âOne has to distinguish between the person and his behavior,â he explained.
However, according to the Brussels Journal, the journalist who taped the interview claims that the bishop had been referring to the people rather than to their behavior.
This case is one of several that have begun to appear in Europe. This past January Christian Vanneste, a member of the French parliament, was convicted for homophobia by a French court for saying that, âheterosexuality is morally superior to homosexualityâ and that âhomosexuality endangers the survival of mankind.â