Hate speech against gays is becoming a focus worldwide. An Australian tribunal has ruled against gay rights activist Gary Burns in his complaint that radio host John Laws vilified gay people when he called Queer Eye fashion maven Carson Kressley a “pillow biter”, among other things, during a show in 2004.
Said the court: “We rule unanimously that the statements that Mr Laws made on the relevant broadcast constituted homosexual vilification, because they incited severe ridicule of homosexual men on the ground of their homosexuality…By majority, we rule further, however, that his publication of these statements on the radio fell within an exception established by the (Anti-Discrimination) Act that is designed, within appropriate limits, to preserve freedom of expression….Our majority decision is accordingly that the publication was lawful.”
Laws made the comments after seeing Kressley on television when he was in the country for the Melbourne Cup (see photo). Here are a few excerpts of what Laws said during that show…
“it’s not often that I get really worried about this country, but I tell you what, I had a sleepless night last night… Who is this pompous little pansy prig who’s strutting around everywhere yesterday, telling Australian blokes how to wear their pocket square? As he called it. That’s poof speak for handkerchief … Who is he? He might be famous in certain circles, circles being the operative word, we know where they are.”
“What the hell does a pillow biter know about judging girls? They should have had a few truckies down there, or me… Fair-dinkum Aussie blokes judging fair-dinkum Aussie girls. Not this pompous little pansy.”
Following the judge’s ruling, Burns said: I took this action because I believe it’s important to stand up and erase hate in society. It’s about standing up against bullies. I didn’t win on this occasion, but I will continue in my mission to dissuade hate in society.”