Tasmania’s Upper House of state parliament has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited offensive homophobic materials just a day after the Australian postal service confiscated 38,000 extreme anti-gay election flyers in the state
LGBT rights activists in the Australian state of Tasmania have been floored by a decision by the state’s Upper House to block a new provision to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act to prohibit offensive and humiliating conduct on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The decision was made just a day after Australia Post seized election flyers which were due to be sent to 38,000 households across Tasmania by an anti-gay conspiracy theorist who is running for a Senate seat.
The flyers claimed that nearly all same-sex couples would molest their own children and that a global conspiracy by international bankers was controling the Australian Government, pushing gay rights and splicing pro-gay subliminal messages into television broadcasts.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome said the Tasmanian Legislative Council’s vote had effectively condoned offensive anti-gay material.
‘It is unbelievable that the day after a damaging, hate-filled, anti-gay election flyer was made public, the Upper House voted down an attempt to prohibit such materials,’ Croome said, ‘The Upper House is effectively saying to hate-mongers, do your worst, we don’t care.’
‘With every right, including free speech, comes a responsibility not to abuse that right by harming others. We will by lobbying the Government not to accept the Upper House’s harmful decision.’
The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act already prohibits offensive conduct towards people on the grounds of gender, marital status, relationship status, pregnancy, breastfeeding, parental status and family responsibility where a reasonable person would anticipate someone would have been offended.
The Tasmanian State Government’s proposal would have extended that to include other grounds such as disability and sexual orientation but the Upper House voted 8 to 6 against the proposal.
The Tasmanian Upper House has a tradition of voting conservatively and voted down an attempt to legalize same-sex marriage in the state in September of last year.
However the body did vote to allow same-sex couples to adopt children they weren’t related to in June.
Another bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriage is now before the parliament and could be debated later this year.
by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News