Convicted stalker and failed Gold Coast mayoral candidate John Murray Abbott will challenge the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 as unconstitutional on the grounds that it infringes on his right to publicly vilify homosexuals.
The hearing is expected to take place on Thursday 21 November at 10 am in the NSW Supreme Court, with submissions filed to the court by Abbott claiming that banning homosexual vilification infringes on his right to religious observance.
“The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, by its provisions to deny homosexual vilification, offends the provisions of section 116 of the Constitution as it seeks to deny religious observance and or exercise of religion,” the submission from Abbott read.
Abbott, who twice failed at the ballot box in bids to become Gold Coast mayor, also cited Leviticus in the King James version of the Holy Bible, and claimed HIV/AIDS was a “homosexual disease,” in his submissions.
“Paragraph 13 of Leviticus in the King James version of the Holy Bible … condemns the act of homosexuality as an abomination and calls for the death penalty [for those who] engage in the act of homosexuality. [As] Section 116 of the Constitution protects and defends religious observance and exercise, then the said ADA is Ultra Vires [beyond legal power/authority] and/or contrary to the exercise and observance of religion,” Abbott states in his submission.
“Many claim HIV / AIDS is not strictly a homosexual disease. While true that anyone can be infected with the disease, records show about 70 % of all infections are borne from the act of homosexuality while the balance is borne from bisexuality, needle exchange; blood transfusion and accidental blood exchange.
“In this, it appears that the blood shall be upon them in said 20:13 of Leviticus takes meaning that if we allow the act of homosexuality to go unchallenged then said diseases will hop over to the general community and indeed it has to a point with devastating consequences.”
Abbott’s decision to challenge the ADA comes after losing a September 2018 case in the NSW Local Court against Australian anti-discrimination campaigner, Garry Burns.
Burns is best known for successfully testing the homosexual vilification provisions of the ADA against public broadcaster John Laws and Sydney radio station 2UE in 2002.
During Burns’ 2018 battle against Abbott, Burns was awarded roughly $8,000 in damages after Abbott breached sections 49ZT, 49ZXB and 50 of the ADA for publishing comments on the internet vilifying Mr Burns on the ground of his homosexuality.
Sections 49ZT and 49ZXB of the ADA make clear that it is unlawful to incite hatred, serious contempt or ridicule of someone who is gay or someone infected with HIV/AIDS – while section 50 states that it is illegal to further subject the person victimised to any legal detriment in circumstances where the victim has brought proceedings against the discriminator.
Speaking to Star Observer, Burns predicted that Abbott’s case will perform “”flaccidly” at the Thursday hearing but would be “entertaining” to watch.
“Clearly he doesn’t have a case,” said Burns.
“Public opinion will see that it’s bizarre conduct and the summons next Thursday, if anything, will be entertaining.
“The decision came down on 18 September 2018. I was paid those monies [damages] on 16 August 2019, and now we’re going to court with a misconceived summons.
“I would suggest that the summons will be dismissed. It’s clearly an incongruous summons that’s misconceived.”
Legally, “misconceived'” means that the plaintiff and their case displays an insufficient understanding of the law.
Burns also touched upon Abbott’s previously colourful history including previous allegations of stalking made against Abbott in 2004 when he and members of his group, the ‘Blackshirts’, protested outside the homes of two women to highlight their family law matters.
While a jury cleared Abbott of one charge, he was found guilty of another.
“It’s common knowledge that Mr Abbott is known as a convicted stalker. He was convicted in Victoria in the early 2000s for stalking. He’s well known for these kinds of actions. He’s a colourful character, but I believe that he believes what he’s doing is the right thing.”
This challenge against the ADA for the right to vilify comes as former high court justice Michael Kirby labelled the Coalition government’s proposed religious freedom bill as an “unbalanced law that will sustain nastiness and hostility that we can well do without”.
In a letter to the Australian Law Journal, Kirby, who has been openly gay since 1984, suggested that added legal protections for “religious freedom” was “a product of hostile religious assertions of a minority of conservative politicians” after the passage of marriage equality legislation in 2017.
“I am unconvinced that such newfound protections are really needed,” he said.
“And I see serious dangers in the present form of the proposed laws.
“Never forget that apartheid in South Africa was ultimately justified by reference to the supposed religious condemnation of miscegeny and that racial intolerance was based on the alleged inferiority of black people traced to contestable biblical texts.