The ugly side of free speech:
This sticker was stuck on a car driven by Ron Owen, a gun lobbyist and publisher of ‘pro-militia’ magazine Lock Stock & Barrel. Understandably, lesbians from Gympie weren’t too pleased when they saw it so they took Owen to Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal.
The Tribunal found Owen guilty of inciting hatred against homosexuals and awarded two of the women who were offended $5000 and a third $2500 in damages.
But is throwing money around the answer? Who wins? Retaliating with alternative speech is a better start.
Mr Rangiah [a Tribunal member] acknowledged Mr Owen’s right to free speech, but said he had gone too far with the bumper sticker and in ensuing comments made during a television interview, in a report to a subsequent council meeting and in a letter on his website.
“Ron Owen is entitled to be a homophobe and he is entitled to publicly express his homophobic views,” he said. “That much is required in a society that values freedom of thought and expression. However there are limits.”
If the Tribunal says the sticker incites hatred and causes offence, what do they think Leviticus 20:13 does?
‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.’