Today’s column on blasphemy laws may be too narrow. In San Francisco and London, activists are demanding that denigrating someone as fat should be treated as a hate crime like race, age, or faith. “Fatism” is already banned in San Franscisco in housing and workplaces.
The San Francisco law even restricts doctors pressuring patients to lose weight. Now, activists are demanding the same type of protection in London. The effort is part of the Size Acceptance Movement, which probably began with the reign of Henry VIII but was more recently formed to end discrimination against the over-sized. Discriminatory businesses and people (who I presume will be called “fatists”) would be treated the same as people who engage in racist hate speech.
As a fairly Rubenesque male, I am sympathetic but fail to see how such a law can be enforced without putting courts on a slippery slope of drawing a line over weight discrimination. I believe that there is extreme prejudice against fat people in our society. However, hate speech is already a controversial issue over limitations on free speech. To now expand it to include weight issues would threaten to destroy the First Amendment in a series of exceptions. “Fatism” cases will leave free speech itself in a anorexic condition.
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