Australian Judge Compares Homosexuality With Incest And Child Abuse

Campaigners have attacked a Sydney judge’s comparison of incest and pedophila with homosexuality as “completely unacceptable” and an insult to people who have experienced sexual abuse


Campaigners have attacked a Sydney judge’s comparison of incest and pedophila with homosexuality as “completely unacceptable” and an insult to people who have experienced sexual abuse, reports the Star Observer.

District Court Judge Garry Neilson comments arose in the case of a 58-year-old man who is charged with repeatedly raping his younger sister in the early 1980s. 

Neilson said that in the same manner as homosexuality was once seen as taboo, “a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available’”.

He went on to say:

“If this was the 50s and you had a jury of 12 men there, which is what you’d invariably have, they would say it’s unnatural for a man to be interested in another man or a man being interested in a boy. Those things have gone.”

Talking to the Star Observer, New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby policy and project officer Jed Horner said Neilson’s comments made an offensive comparison between being gay and sexual offences and were an insult to survivors of sexual abuse.


  1. Macguffin54 says

    Wow, this takes a different spin on the issue. This judge is taking the horribly gross perspective that incest and rape are ok because being gay, ultimately, turns out to be

  2. StranglerFig says

    @Judge Garry Neilson: If you kill yourself, maybe you can pull a stunt like Jack from the movie “The Shining”, and send your ghost back to the 50s where you can live your hetero-supremacist homophobic lifestyle just the way you remember it! A time when any homophobic lie has a certain level of ‘truthiness’ to it…

  3. Macguffin54 says

    (Sorry, my phone posted on its own before I was done) ok. This line of thinking plays into anti-gay people’s fears that acceptance of gay people will lead to acceptance of incest, rape, etc. While these comments are taken out of context to truly understand where he was coming from and where he wound up I have to think, as is, the comments are grounds for disbarment or being remove com this particular seat on the bench.

  4. Randy says

    If it was rape, what does it matter if it was incest?

    The linked article says “she was 18 and he was in his mid-20s”.

    The judge seems to be wandering into irrelevant discussion, but the issue he wanted into is correct. If siblings do fall in love, nobody should stand in their way. (Procreation is a separate matter).

  5. jamal49 says

    I am not sure how this “judge” made the leap of logic from a man raping his younger sister to consenting adults entering into a same sex relationship. Mystifying.

    And, Randy, incest does matter. It is repulsive. The man raped his sister. Your “logic” is even worse than that of the “judge”.

  6. ben~andy says

    There are logical and biological arguments against incest for the hetero community. The Spanish Hapsburgs found out how dangerous inbreeding can be as did the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. The Catholic Church forbade marriages between cousins of varying degrees, unless you were royalty, oops. In my own family, there is a tombstone in Bavaria where the wife’s maiden name is the same as her husband’s and they were Catholic and it was in the Catholic cemetery, so probably at least 2nd cousins. Jokes about Appalachia come to mind, but it wasn’t that uncommon. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were 5th cousins, once removed [meaning 5 & 1/2]. And, Biblically we’re all descendents of Adam and Eve so we’re all related anyway. And the Eve hypothesis would even give that a basis in biology.

    However, neither the logical nor biological reasons make any sense when the “couple” cannot procreate with each other as is true in homosexual couples. Two lesbian sisters aren’t going to each contribute to the child’s DNA, nor would two gay brothers [or cousins, or, for that matter, parents and adult progeny of the same sex].

    “Disgust” is not an adequate legal reason to forbid something. If it were, we’d still be waiting for same-sex marriage. Generally, we are biologically wired to resist “sex” with siblings we were raised with and I don’t think logic generally trumps biology. But there isn’t any logical or biological reason two consenting people of the same sex shouldn’t be allowed to marry. It might make for a problem with inheritance laws as you pass on to your spouse your estate w/o taxes.

    Now that it is legal to marry someone of the same sex, it will probably happen in any case. Even if one of the partners has to legally change their last name, then they apply for the license and decide to take the original common last name as their married name, surprise! It would be a fabulous Jerry Springer episode but, really, it isn’t a problem as far as the race is concerned.

  7. SpaceCadet says

    This is sort of on a related tangent but I just had a dream where Jamie Lannister declares his love for Cersei Lannister in public and the royal court reacts in shock.

  8. Bill says

    @Macguffin54 (and others): while it could have been worded much better for public consumption, the judge was not being homophobic. It seems that the charges in question are for rape. The judge decided that a prior case of incest (when the defendant was a minor and his sister was a younger minor) and some other information would prejudice the jury against the defendant, making it easier to convict him than someone who was charge with raping a person not related to him.

    One example the judge gave was that, in 1950, if a person was charged with rape and the jury was told that he was gay, the jury would have been much more likely to convict him than if told he was straight, due to the prejudices at the time. That would be less true today as the level of prejudice is dropping.

    What the judge was trying to say is that information that is not directly relevant to the charges and that a jury would hold against a defendant should not be presented to the jury. The judge was also indicating that the decision to not allow some testimony reflects the attitudes on the part of the public that exist at the time of the trial.

    The judge was trying to do the right thing – to make sure the defendant got a fair trial, where “fair” implies that the amount of evidence needed to convict him is the same as for any other defendant.

    To put his comment in perspective, if you were charged with something and we had a time machine that could pull in a jury from 1950, a time when homophobic attitudes would not be questioned, would you want that jury to be told you were gay? Such a jury would probably figure that you should be locked up for being gay anyway.

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