The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board has accepted a “homosexuality vilification” complaint put forward by gay rights activist Garry Burns.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Burns wrote to the board’s president in early December to complain about Folau’s anti-gay Instagram post and his recent comments linking the legalisation of same-sex marriage to Australia’s bushfires and drought.
In his complaint, Burns wrote that Folau’s statements were “objectively capable of incitement of contempt and or hatred of homosexual persons on the ground of their homosexuality”.
By publishing those statements, “Mr Folau has portrayed homosexual men and women as people who should be shunned and/or avoided on the grounds of their homosexuality”. Burns said in his complaint, “By doing so, he has breached the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act.”
The board wrote to Burns last week to inform him they’d accepted his complaint under NSW’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
In a statement Burns said, “Mark my words, Mr Folau is about to cop a dose of third-degree Burns.”
With the complaint accepted, the first step is conciliation and if this fails it can be referred to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a legal decision.
Burns told The Star Observer that he’d launched the action against Folau on behalf of all Australians to fight the vilification against the LGBTIQ community and other minority groups.
“I am a completely independent activist. The work that I do is difficult and expensive, and I can’t do it alone,” Burns told The Star Observer.
Burns has set up a fighting fund to support his legal action against Folau and asked “decent Australians” to consider donating.
“I consider it my life’s work to bring about an Australia that is safe and accepting of all. We are all Australians, all in this together. It’s just not on in 2019 to vilify people simply because they’re a minority.”