Israel Folau accused of gay vilification in new complaint

israel folau rugby australia settlement gay
Photo: YouTube

LGBTIQ rights campaigner Garry Burns has accused Israel Folau of “homosexual vilification” in a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.

Burns wrote to the board’s president on Sunday to complain about Folau’s infamous Instagram post in which he warned “hell awaits” homosexuals.

The longtime activist also argued Folau’s sermon linking the bushfire crisis and droughts to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2017.

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

He wrote that Folau’s statements were “objectively capable of incitement of contempt and or hatred of homosexual persons on the ground of their homosexuality”.

“To suggest or imply that same-sex couples are causing these dreadful [natural disaster] events to occur, that — I would allege — is vilification because it’s singling out a particular group within the community,” Burns told AAP.

“I’m confident that if this goes to a hearing, the complaint will be substantiated.”

In the complaint, Mr Burns argues Folau’s statements in relation to gay and transgender Australians could have a dire impact on young people’s mental health.

If the anti-discrimination board’s president accepts the complaint under the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act, the matter would normally go to conciliation.

If there’s no resolution, it can go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a legal ruling.

Mr Burns previously took a former Katter Party candidate to NCAT after comments she made about gay people in 2013.

Tess Corbett, a Victorian, publicly said she did not want “gays, lesbians or paedophiles working in my kindergarten”. However, after the tribunal’s ruling, Corbett would not retract her comments.

Burns subsequently lost cases in the NSW Supreme Court and the High Court pursuing the matter. He is now crowdfunding to pay a $82k legal bill from the case.

Israel Folau in court with Rugby Australia

On Monday, Folau arrived at Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne for a mediation meeting with Rugby Australia over his sacking.

He wants $14 million in compensation claim after Rugby Australia sacked him for the social media posts.

If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, the case will go to trial in the court in February.

Folau has stood by the widely-criticised bushfire comments made in his Sydney sermon.

However last weekend he offered a clarification in a new video, offering “thoughts and prayers” to bushfire victims.

“What I was referring to in terms of the natural disasters wasn’t a direct message to the people that are affected,” Folau said.

“It was just a timely reminder of God’s word and trying to point people onto the path of righteousness.

“In saying that, my thoughts and prayers do go out to the people that are affected.

“It’s horrible to see and you never want anyone to go through that sort of stuff. But as a Christian, you are always praying for people.

“You see the droughts today, you pray for rain and things to be restored. That’s ultimately as Christians what we’re driven by and what we’re bound by is God’s love.”

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