News

Gay vilification 'unacceptable'

Protesters at the mobile billboard in Lismore on Sunday. Two people chained themselves to the truck and were released by Police Rescue.
Protesters at the mobile billboard in Lismore on Sunday. Two people chained themselves to the truck and were released by Police Rescue. Aaron Bertram

A TRUCK carrying posters against same sex marriage clearly attempted to link homosexuality to pedophilia and was "unacceptable" according to the president of the anti-discrimination board.

NSW board president Stepan Kerkyasharian said yesterday acts of vilification were difficult to prosecute as case-law required there be "a connection between a violent act and the message".

Mr Kerkyasharian also said nobody had ever been successfully prosecuted under the state's anti-vilification laws.

Speaking about the posters, he said, "I think that there is a clear message that there is a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.

"At the very best it is an implicit connection, but a reasonable person would say it is an explicit connection."

The gay and lesbian community "made over" the mobile billboard of anti-same sex marriage campaigner Peter Madden when it was parked in Lismore on Saturday night on its way to Brisbane.

They covered it with glitter and streamers and spray-painted their own messages.

Some chained themselves to the truck which was later moved to a police compound for safekeeping.

Speaking from Robina yesterday, Mr Madden said his campaign was back on the road - albeit with some souvenirs from Lismore.

"A number of churches came together and scrubbed it up, but unfortunately there is still some graffiti we can't get off," he said.

He claimed accusations the billboard sought to link homosexuality to pedophilia were misplaced.

But Mr Kerkyasharian, Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell and participant Virginia Barratt don't buy it.

"It might be that he is trying to distance himself from those views now, but that is not what his web site or his conversation with me conveyed," Cr Dowell said.

Ms Barratt said: "It is unacceptable for people to publicly target and vilify minority groups, in this case queer people, which might incite hatred."

Topics:  homosexual, jenny dowell, peter madden, same-sex, truck



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