Dutch MP Fined for Critical Comment on Homosexuality

Country: Netherlands

Date of incident: December 30, 1996

A politician was fined in the first instance for hate speech in criticizing homosexuality. Even though the court of second instance lifted the sentence, the hypersensitivity of the first court is a worrying sign.

In 1996 member of the House of Representatives and party leader, Leen van Dijke, was quoted in the national weekly magazine Nieuwe Revu as saying: “Why would stealing, for example committing social welfare fraud, be less of a sin than going against the seventh commandment? Yes, why should someone in a homosexual relationship be better than a thief?" In response to criticism in the media, Van Dijke explained that he was simply conveying what he believed to be a universal Christian tenet, that all sin is equal. The homosexual magazine Gaykrant then reported the statement to the Attorney General and proceedings were issued. Van Dijke was initially convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of € 135. Despite being acquitted on appeal, prosecutors took the case to the Supreme Court, where the acquittal was upheld. Both upper courts concluded that the comments were insulting but were not unlawful within the context of van Dijke’s Christian convictions. Source: "Censored", by Paul Coleman, Kairos Publications 2012.