Spanish Court Affirmed: Christian View on Homosexuality is Not 'Hate Speech'

Country: Spain

Date of incident: June 14, 2021

Spains highest court, National Audience, withdrew a 6,000 Euros fine that was earlier imposed on the Christian television channel Revelation TV. The cable broadcaster received the fine in September of 2017, after a complaint had been made claiming the programme is "attacking the dignity of LGBT people." High Court Judge Felisa Atienza Rodríguez stated in her ruling that "critiquing ideas or positions" of others is a constitutional right.

After a complaint, made by a private person, against an Evangelical pastor who appeared on a show of Revelation TV, the National Commission of Markets and Competitions (CNMC) claimed the UK-based broadcaster had attacked the dignity of people identifiying as homosexual or transgender in a talk show, hosted by them. 

The CNMC stated in 2018 that the Evangelical pastor, accused of hate speech, made comments that "could be considered as threatening against the dignity of the homosexual and transgender collective, although the channel in charge of the programme did not expressly incite to hate against those communities”. 

Relevation TV Director, Gordon Pettie, revealed the broadcasters intention to appeal at the National Audience. The high court under magistrate Felisa Atienza Rodríguez agrees with the Christian broadcaster and has nullified the fine.

Judge Rodríguez stated in her ruling that both, the channel and the accused pastor, have acted under the protection of the right to freedom of expression. 

Stating: “The expressions used by the pastor cannot be considered an attack against the human dignity or against the constitutional values, since they were made in the context of an opinion programme," she continued adding "with a Christian ideology (…) without emitting opinions that incited to hate, expressing ideas around the controversial issues of the sexual identity of children”.

She additionally stated that the ruling, “might not be shared by everyone in society, but they do respond to the exercise of freedom of expression according to a religious perspective on the issue, and to the exercise of another fundamental right which is ideological or religious freedom”.

 The judges of the National Audience state that freedom of expression, “allows criticising ideas or positions with which someone disagrees, and these negative remarks cannot be described as an attack against human dignity of the people who do not share these ideas. The context in which these ideas were expressed has to be taken into account, and the fact that at no point they incite to hate against the homosexual or transgender collective”.

In 2018 Gordon Pettie stated that he does not "believe that during the programme anything was said that is not already in the Bible." He added, "We, therefore, believe we are not guilty. We are Christian television that was born seventeen years ago, which belongs to a non for profit organisation. We speak about all kind of issues from a Christian perspective, we have worship music, Bible studies, preachings". He finished by stating that they offer "Everything you would expect in a Christian television”. 


Symbolic Photo: by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash