AOL in gay rights fracas

It's the old First Amendment again

The world's biggest ISP, America Online, is under fire from three American lobbyist organisations for censoring the way its gay members describe themselves online.

AOL, a company that has thrived on developing chat groups and online communities is being criticised for preventing a gay member from including sexually suggestive information in an online profile, while allowing other members the freedom to include, among other things, racist comments and violent prejudice.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the profile deleted by AOL was of a gay man describing himself as a "submissive bottom". The man refused to take up an offer by AOL to rewrite his profile devoid of suggestive remarks, believing he was within his rights to use free-speech.

Free-speech watchdog ACLU (American Civil liberties Union) is now championing the man's cause, while criticism has also rained in from the nationalgaylobby.org and lobbyists at HateWatch.

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