Rappers Face Jail Time In UK Under Proposed Gay Rights Law

Rappers and musicians in the United Kingdom will face jail time under a new law being created which will outlaw hateful lyrics against homosexuals.

According to Justice Secretary Jack Straw, the proposed law will cover gay men, women and bisexual people, as well as transsexuals and disabled people.

"It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on the basis of their sexuality," Justice Secretary Jack Straw told reporters.

Ben Summerskill of gay rights organization Stonewall said he was "delighted" and that the law would help protect gays and lesbians from hateful lyrics and actions.

"We refuse to accept any longer that there's no connection between extreme rap lyrics calling for gay people to be attacked or fundamentalist claims that all gay people are pedophiles, and the epidemic of anti-gay violence disfiguring Britain's streets," Summerskill told The BBC. "We anticipate, as always, a tough battle with our traditional opponents in the House of Lords but remain determined to secure complete equality in the criminal law."

The new proposal comes on the heels of the controversial and recently passed Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which received Royal Assent in 2006.

The law does not prohibit the criticism of gays or lesbians, but protects them from calls of violence from detractors, because of their sexual orientation.

Anyone convicted of an offense under the act could face up to seven years in jail.

"Fighting hatred, prejudice and discrimination will be at the heart of everything this government does," added Equalities Secretary Harriet Harman.