The LGBTI Legal Service is running the Like Love project to address vilification during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey period.
Vilification is a public act or statement that incites others to hate a person or their group because of their gender identity or sexuality. A public act includes publication on the internet. Vilification is UNLAWFUL in Queensland. If you live in Queensland and hear or see something in your neighbourhood, post box, or on social media that incites hatred on the basis of gender identity or sexuality, we advise you to record or screen capture it (including the date and time) and seek legal advice.
Comments saying that, for example, gay people are more likely to be rapists or paedophiles have been found to be unlawful vilification in other legal cases. These kind of comments are not excused by the right to free speech.
The LGBTI Legal Service acknowledges that this time is particularly difficult for many members of our community – if you would benefit from mental health assistance you may want to access one of the services listed on the website of our friends at QuAC.
Have you encountered vilifying material?
If you encounter vilifying material, you may wish to:
- Take legal action yourself – in this case we recommend initially seeking legal advice through our free service. Please complete an intake form and send it to us along with the vilifying material. Please be aware that time limitations for seeking legal advice apply.
- Submit the offensive material to the LGBTI Legal Service for possible use as part of a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission at the end of the campaign period.
In both cases please contact the LGBTI Legal Service on firstname.lastname@example.org with the vilifying material attached.
About vilification laws
You can find more general information about vilification on Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commission website at:
- https://www.adcq.qld.gov.au/resources/lgbti-people/Sexuality-and-your-rights; and
Some examples of vilification on the basis of sexuality or gender identity include:
- a radio host using highly offensive homophobic language, laughing at and belittling gay and bisexual men on the air;
- posters that say that lesbian mothers are damaging their children because they are exposed to their mothers’ sexuality; or
- adverse comments inciting hatred towards all gay men written on a gay man’s publicly accessible social media page for his business.
There may also be other options you can consider such as making an application to the Commonwealth Attorney General under the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Act 2017 (Cth).
Please note that merely advocating for either the “Vote YES” or “Vote NO” campaigns does not automatically mean that a legal issue arises. The law endeavours to strike a balance between the right to freedom of political communications and the prohibiting of discriminatory speech.
Are you from outside Queensland?
Please note that anti-discrimination and vilification laws vary in each state and territory. If you are located outside Queensland, you can seek legal advice from your local community legal centre. Find your local community legal centre at the National Association of Community Legal Centres.
Have a “Vote NO” enquiry?
Whilst the LGBTI Legal Service actively advocates for the rights and liberties of LGBTI people, including the “Vote YES” campaign, we do not condone unlawful discriminatory or vilifying acts of any person(s). Our service believes in legal equality for all.