The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has found former Gympie councillor and gun lobbyist Ron Owen guilty of inciting hatred against homosexuals, for brandishing a bumper sticker that read Gay rights? Under God’s law the only -˜rights’ gays have is the right to die. Lev.20.13.
Owen has been ordered to pay $12,500 and issue a public apology in the local paper, The Gympie Times, after being found guilty of inciting hatred and contempt against homosexuals.
Tribunal member Darryl Rangiah noted in the finding that while Owen had the right to be a homophobe, his actions had gone too far.
Ron Owen is entitled to be a homophobe and he is entitled to publicly express his homophobic views, the finding read.
That much is required in a society that values freedom of thought and expression. However, there are limits.
It was not only the sticker which overstepped the mark though, with Owen making several public statements which were found to be capable of inciting hatred and contempt based on sexuality.
When questioned in council about the sticker, Owen said, if a person chooses to follow non-human acts, if they break the law, they lose their human rights.
It was a sentiment Owen maintained during an interview with Channel Seven, during which he lamented the burden of the Sodomites’ disease placed on the public health system.
I think that they know they are going to die very shortly. I mean AIDS is pretty prevalent, Owen said.
The Tribunal also made note of a letter Owen published on the website www.lockstockandbarrel.org which further vilified the gay community.
Any person who commits acts that no ignorant animal would commit, declares war on his community and therefore may be destroyed, Owen wrote.
For these actions, Rangiah ruled that the ordinary member of the public, in my opinion, would understand that he or she was being urged to hate and to have serious contempt for homosexuals.
Owen was forced to pay three of the four claimants and to issue a statement to The Gympie Times, admitting that his conduct caused offence to the gay community of Gympie.