Anti-discrimination case against preachers dropped

Campbell Markham and David Gee were accused of offending gay people

Presbyterian pastor Campbell Markham and street preacher David Gee have had a complaint against them before Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner dropped following mediation. The complaint centred on comments about same-sex marriage made on Markham’s blog and while Gee was street preaching.

The two preachers had responded to the Anti-Discrimination case against them by lodging a challenge in the Tasmanian Supreme Court to have key parts of Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act overturned.

David Gee works for Markham’s Cornerstone Church in Hobart, one day per week as an evangelist. Gee works a further one and a half days funded by 513, a street preaching group. He also practices as a vet.

Gee sets up a table in Hobart’s streets, making the Bible available, and handing out tracts. The table often becomes a place for conversation. “He also does street preaching,” Markham told Eternity when the case started. “That’s what people don’t like.”

The complainant, Samuel Mazur, has been hanging around Gee’s preaching places for years. “He is an atheist, who says he feels offended and insulted by what has been written and said.”

Mazur has withdrawn his complaint after making an agreement with the Hobart City council “to better regulate street preachers and the use of an area of Elizabeth Street mall designated as ‘speakers corner’,” the Hobart Mercury reports.

The paper quotes Mazur as saying: “I just wanted to reach a negotiated outcome that ensured no harm was done to members of the public through hate speech.”

However, Markham and Gee are still pursuing their challenge against the Anti-discrimination Act. “The fight to repeal a bad law goes on,” Markham facebooked. “Thanks to so many for your support and prayers.”

In an earlier report, Eternity noted: “The complaint centres on a few sentences from Markham’s prolific blogging. One example is what Markham wrote alongside some posters from the Rainbow Families Council, which promote non-traditional families. Markham quoted a saying of Jesus beneath them: “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!””

Gee had been prepared to withdraw some of the remarks he made while street preaching, conceding that he had gone too far on some occasions.

The Markham-Gee case had followed the better known Julian Porteous case. The catholic bishop of Hobart had been taken to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner over a pamphlet which explained Catholic doctrine of the family. The latest developments in the Markham-Gee case mean that both cases have had the same outcome: a withdrawal by the complainant.