In the case of Vejdeland and Others v Sweden, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously held that the conviction of the four applicants for “agitation against a national or ethnic group” was not contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention. The applicants had distributed leaflets at a school about the negative influence of “homosexual propaganda” in education and stating that “homosexuality has a morally destructive effect on the substance of society.” The ICJ and Interights argued that sexual orientation should be treated in the same way as categories such as race, ethnicity and religion, which are commonly covered by hate speech and hate crime laws, because sexual orientation is fundamental to a person’s sense of self and is used as a marker of group identity. The Court agreed, stressing that “discrimination based on sexual orientation is as serious as discrimination based on race, origin or colour.” The interference pursued a legitimate aim, that of protecting the reputation and rights of others, and was necessary in a democratic society. There was therefore no violation.
Case Vejdeland Sweden-Judgment-2012 (full text in English, PDF)
Case Vejdeland Sweden-legal submission-2012 (full text in English, PDF)AdvocacyLegal submissions