Edinburgh, Scotland, Mar 26, 2019 / 18:01 pm
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland is warning against the government's restriction of free speech, amid fears that the Church's stance on marriage and sexuality could make Catholics susceptible to hate crime allegations.
"Care must be taken to allow room for debate and a robust exchange of views, ensuring that 'hate' doesn't include the kind of ordinary discourse where people reasonably hold divergent views," reads the bishop's statement submitted to the Scottish Government's consultation on hate crimes.
"The fundamental right to freedom of expression, and the right of an individual to hold and express opinions, even if they are considered by some to be controversial or unwelcome must be upheld."
This comes amid a national independent review of Scotland's hate crime legislation, commissioned by the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, and released in May 2018.