Activist’s gay vilification complaint against Israel Folau to proceed

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The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) has accepted a vilification complaint from LGBTIQ rights activist Garry Burns against Israel Folau.

Burns wrote to the board earlier this month to complain about the former rugby star’s April Instagram post warning hell awaits homosexuals.

Burns also took aim at Folau’s comments in a video sermon linking the bushfires and droughts to same-sex marriage.

He alleged Folau’s comments were “objectively capable of incitement of contempt and/or hatred of homosexual persons on the grounds of their homosexuality”.

“Folau has portrayed homosexual men and women as people who should be shunned and/or avoided on the grounds of their homosexuality,” Burns said.

“By doing so, has breached the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.”

On Friday, the Anti-Discrimination Board told Burns his complaint had been accepted.

Such complaints typically go to conciliation. If that process fails to resolve it, the matter can proceed to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a legal decision.

Burns demanded Folau apologise for the comments and hand over $100,000 to LGBTIQ youth charity Minus18.

“Mark my words, Mr. Folau is about to cop a dose of third-degree Burns,” the activist said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Rugby Australia and Israel Folau reached a confidential settlement after Folau was sacked for the same social media post.

Garry Burns crowdfunding for legal proceedings

Mr Burns previously took a former Katter Party candidate to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for comments on gay people in 2013.

Tess Corbett, a Victorian, publicly said she did not want “gays, lesbians or pedophiles working in my kindergarten”.

Burns has set up a “fighting fund” on GoFundMe to support his legal action against Folau, as well as his general anti-vilification work.

“I ask all decent Australians with the means to help me in my anti-vilification work against Mr. Folau and co,” he said.

“I am a completely independent activist. The work that I do is difficult and expensive, and I can’t do it alone.

“We are all Australians, all in this together. It’s just not on in 2019 to vilify people simply because they’re a minority.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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