Sunday, April 22, 2007

Still Possible to Criticize Homosexuality in Australia

ANZAC day is the day Australia remembers its war dead:

"An advertisement for a gay Anzac Day party that shows a near-naked man wearing a slouch hat has been branded a "desecration" of the Anzac spirit by the Victorian RSL.

Martin Stevens, who has worked as a Shrine of Remembrance guard for eight years, said yesterday he was horrified to discover he had become the unwitting star of an ad for an Anzac Day eve bash at the Peel Hotel in Collingwood. The ad was published in gay magazines and on the venue's website.

"I saw my face and next to it there's a near-naked bloke in an army hat," Mr Stevens said. "I was just horrified. It's insulting to the diggers [troops] and it's just plain wrong."

Victorian RSL president David McLachlan said the ad, which includes an image of the Rising Sun army badge, was an abuse of liberty. "This is a desecration of the Anzac Day memory and the Shrine of Remembrance, which represents the sacrifice of so many Victorians," he said.

A spokesman for the hotel, Tom McFeely, said management now realised the ad was in poor taste and had removed it from the venue's website. "I also delivered a hand-written apology to the RSL yesterday and we have made a donation to the Shrine fund," Mr McFeely said.