Wednesday, March 14, 2018




Australia: Case dropped but Christian clerics fight on for free speech

Two Hobart preachers will continue a constitutional challenge against Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws, despite the withdrawal of a legal complaint about their preaching on homosexuality and gay marriage.

Presbyterian pastor Campbell Markham said yesterday the two had “no intention” of withdrawing their constitutional challenge to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act in light of the dropped complaint, despite advice the case could cost $20,000 in legal fees.

They also planned to seek a meeting with whomever was named attorney-general in the pending post-state election reshuffle, to lobby for another attempt at amending the act.

“We feel a responsibility to fight this law — not for ourselves, but on behalf of all Tasmanians who want to live in a free society,” said Mr Markham, of the city’s Cornerstone Church.

The state government last night suggested it was open to ­another tilt at reform, after changes to bolster religious freedom were last year blocked in the upper house.

“We remain of the view that the act as it stands does not get the balance right,” a spokeswoman said. “We are supportive of strengthening freedom of speech, but no decision has been made on any legislative change.”

Often described as the nation’s broadest anti-discrimination law, its section 17 bans conduct that “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules” someone on the basis of 22 attributes, including sexuality and religious belief.

Mr Markham said despite the complainant, Hobart man Sam Mazur, dropping the case against him and his church’s street evangelist, David Gee, it had already tied them up in legal wrangles for six months.

It had also set a precedent, with Equal Opportunity Tasmania agreeing to accept the complaint despite Mr Mazur not identifying as gay and instead bringing the complaint on behalf of others. “If the EOT starts accepting third-party complaints then every Tasmanian is exposed to legal ­action — not just because a person may be offended by what they say, but because someone may decide that someone else, somewhere, might be offended,” Mr Markham said.

Mr Mazur suggested he had withdrawn the complaint because of doubts about its chance of success, given that he was not gay.

According to Mr Mazur’s complaint, Mr Gee suggested same-sex marriage could lead to “polygamy, pedophilia, incest and even bestiality”. In online blogs, Pastor Markham has referred to the “distressingly dangerous homosexual lifestyle”.

SOURCE


1 comment:

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

Make is a a crime to insult and false religion like Islam force all to convert to uslam under penalty of being beheaded certianly not the Religion of Peace as some fools claim the dove keeps away from the vulture and so dose the hawk as well