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9 Australasian Gay & Lesbian L.J. 9 (2000)
How Can We Square Freedom with Anti-Vilification Laws

handle is hein.journals/agllj9 and id is 13 raw text is: How can we Square Freedom with
Anti-Vilification Laws?
David Marr*
David Marr argues that anti-vilification laws which forbid the expression of
hostile opinions about gays and lesbians are misconceived Comparing the
arguments for the NSW laws, which include both criminal and civil
sanctions, with proposed laws to protect the faithful of all religions from
vilification, Marr argues that in the long term gay men and women will be
much better protected by continuing to rely on an absolute freedom of
expression, the notion of liberty under which so much has been achieved,
even if that entails abuse and vilification.
The freedom gay men and women have achieved in the past 40 years owes
everything to a notion of liberty which seems absolutely at odds with laws that
forbid the expression of hostile opinions about other races, other nationalities, other
religions, other sexualities. The hard question I want to explore in this article is
whether gay rights aren't, in fact, best protected by committing ourselves to
absolute liberty of expression, even if that entails abuse and vilification.
Recently I had a long talk to Bob Harrison. Some of you will know Bob. He's the
Labor guy who represents Kiama in the State Parliament. Bob got very agitated
over Andres Serrano's Piss Christ, that crucifix doused in urine which was, at least
*   Revised version of the Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research Annual Public Lecture
given at The University of Sydney on 16 September 1998.

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