A senior Tasmanian public servant, Robert Williams, has won his case against an anti-gay flyer distributed in Hobart.
The state Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has ruled that the author of a flyer titled “Homosexual Stats”, James Durston, must publicly apologise or face a fine.
The flyer stated homosexuality is “utterly abominable” and “should not be tolerated”. Among several far-fetched claims it stated that the medium age of death for gay men is 42 and lesbians are 466 times more likely to die in traffic accidents. It was distributed in Hobart during the 2013 state election campaign under the name of “Three Wise Monkeys”.
Mr Williams said,
“I’m happy with this outcome because it says that the vilification of Tasmanians on the grounds of sexual orientation is not acceptable.”
“I didn’t do it for myself, but for those young same-sex attracted Tasmanians who are really vulnerable to this kind of hatred and stereotyping.”
“There’s no point having laws as strong as the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination to protect our freedoms unless we use them.”
“I’d encourage anyone who feels they’ve been discriminated against to make a formal complaint.”
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, also welcomed the decision, saying,
“I congratulate Robert Williams for his initiative in making a complaint and for the calm, intelligent and well-informed way he made his case.”
“This decision will help save lives by sending the message that hatred has no place in Tasmanian society.”
“Free speech is vitally important but every right comes with a responsibility not to harm others.”
“This flyers clearly crosses that line.”
Mr Durston has been ordered to publish an apology in the Hobart Mercury or face a fine.
A copy of the decision is attached. A copy of the flyer is also attached, as part of Mr Robert’s original complaint. It can be found on pages 4 & 5 of that complaint.
For more information contact Robert Williams on 0411 671 755 or Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.
Author: Robert Williams Rodney Croome
Publication: Tasmania United for Marriage Equality Press Release
Date: 1 July 2015