Cape Town - An adults-only age restriction slapped on an allegedly homophobic book has been overturned by a review board of the Film and Publications Board.

The book, The Pink Agenda: The Ruin Of The Family, was co-authored by Christian activists Christine McCafferty and Peter Hammond.

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP) has described the book as "the worst example of homophobic hate speech ever published in South Africa".

Following complaints from gay activists, the Film and Publications Board ruled in January that the book would have to carry a notice that it was for sale only to people over 18.

The committee found the book was not desirable for those under 18, who might not be able to separate fact from fiction.

"The committee was concerned that the book has made assertions that are questionable to say the least, and the (authors') leap from homosexuality to criminal conduct is... completely without justification," a Film and Publications board spokesperson said at the time.

The book "would come close to constituting hate literature", he added.

However, the book's publishers, Christian Liberty Books (CLB), said in a statement on Saturday the age restriction had been lifted after a Film and Publications Boards review hearing earlier in the week.

"The Review Board said in its ruling... that the writers have the freedom to express any view that cannot be conclusively proven to incite hatred or violence,' CLB said.

In a statement, McCafferty said: "We are very excited about the ruling. In many ways we feel justified in that the Board has agreed that our book is not harmful to under-18s.

"We argued in our appeal that, through the sex education, children as young as nine are being confronted with positive messages about sodomy, bisexuality and so forth. In their early teens they are being faced with choices as regards their own lives and entering homosexuality.

"It would be wrong to deny them access to all the different views on homosexuality and the facts about it, including the medical problems associated with sodomy," she said. - Sapa