Rain­bow ranks show their true colours

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - MIRANDA DEVINE

SO now we see why rain­bow war­riors didn’t want a peo­ple’s vote on same-sex mar­riage. It was be­cause they knew we’d see their true, in­tol­er­ant colours.

Yes cam­paign HQ knows thug­gery won’t win over mid­dle Aus­tralia but their foot-sol­diers are re­veal­ing them­selves as fas­cist bul­lies who vil­ify and in­tim­i­date any­one who dares to dis­agree.

Last week’s abu­sive ex­hi­bi­tion by same-sex mar­riage ac­tivists at Syd­ney Univer­sity was the clear­est ex­am­ple yet.

On Thurs­day, about 15 stu­dents, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the uni’s Catholic So­ci­ety, set up an in­for­ma­tion ta­ble on the main cam­pus thor­ough­fare with plac­ards say­ing: “It’s OK to Say No”.

They of­fered free ke­babs and two large bowls of de­li­cious Le­banese hum­mus made by one of their moth­ers.

It was the first time the No cam­paign has had a pres­ence on cam­pus where “Mar­riage Equal­ity” stalls have fea­tured al­most ev­ery day.

Fran­cis Tamer, a 21-yearold IT stu­dent and one of the or­gan­is­ers, said: “The mes­sage was that it’s OK to vote No. We weren’t look­ing to con­vince peo­ple how to vote. We’re just say­ing its OK to have your own opin­ion.”

Af­ter an hour 40 to 60 ac­tivists ar­rived with a mega­phone, led by “Queer of­fi­cers” of the Stu­dents’ Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil, which has an an­nual bud­get of $1.7 mil­lion. For the next five hours they screamed abuse at the Catholic stu­dents, call­ing them: “Ho­mo­phobes” “big­ots” “neo-Nazis” “gay-bash­ers” and chant­ing: “Bigot scum have got to go” and: “We will fight, we will win, put the big­ots in the bin”.

They up-ended the ta­ble of ke­babs and threw bowls of hum­mus on the ground. They stole pam­phlets and plac­ards, threw con­doms and glit­ter at the stu­dents, chalked “F. k off big­ots” on the path, swore and yelled anti-Chris­tian abuse. The abuse was recorded.

“They wanted to pro­voke us,” said Tamer. “But I told our mem­bers don’t en­gage. A lot of peo­ple have now seen the Yes cam­paign for what it re­ally is … If this is what’s hap­pen­ing now, what will hap­pen later, af­ter (same-sex mar­riage) is en­shrined in law?”

Tamer spent most of the day with his hands in his pock­ets, show­ing ad­mirable restraint.

“I’m used to the ver­bal abuse,” an­other or­gan­iser, Tony Mat­tar, 26, said.

“But I wasn’t ex­pect­ing the vi­o­lence … I didn’t think they’d go that far. We couldn’t even talk with them.”

It was Mat­tar’s mother who made the hum­mus that was thrown on the ground by the rain­bow fer­als. They smeared it on his clothes, the back of his neck and his face. They also kicked him and oth­ers in the shins to get them to drop their plac­ards.

Later in the af­ter­noon, an ac­tivist ran full pelt at Mat­tar, while an­other male tried to grab his plac­ard. He man­aged to stay up­right but, at this stage, watch­ing NSW po­lice in­ter­vened.

“There were times I did get mad,” said Tamer.

“It’s not easy to cope with that for five hours straight. But we knew we were rep­re­sent­ing more than just our­selves.

“I thought ev­ery­one who walked past, they’re go­ing to re­think and re­con­sider — and see maybe it’s the Yes cam­paign that lacks love.”

“(The other side) are try­ing to con­vince peo­ple there is only one moral way and if you think any other way you are evil, you are a bigot, you are hate­ful.

“But we don’t want any­one to think it’s not OK to vote No. You can’t make the whole coun­try not vote No in their own homes. At the end of the day your vote is your vote.”

He said the Yes cam­paign as­sumes they have locked up the youth vote.

“But we want to show that the univer­sity and young peo­ple are not owned by the LGBTI agenda, we are not owned by the Left. We can think for our­selves.”

The Univer­sity’s Queer Ac­tion Col­lec­tive is­sued a state­ment say­ing there was no vi­o­lence “aside from po­lice ag­gres­sion” and claim­ing Catholic So­ci­ety mem­bers had com­pared LGBTI re­la­tion­ships to “bes­tial­ity” and pae­dophilia.

Tamer and Mat­tar said that noth­ing of the kind was ever said.

There is no ev­i­dence to the con­trary in two hours of video I have seen, pro­vided by Tamer and the Univer­sity Union.

What the videos do show is that mem­bers of the Catholic So­ci­ety were sub­jected to vili- fi­ca­tion, in­tim­i­da­tion and threats “be­cause of views they hold on the (mar­riage) sur­vey or in re­la­tion to their re­li­gious con­vic­tion”, as de­fined by emer­gency leg­is­la­tion rushed through par­lia­ment last week.

Yet At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Ge­orge Bran­dis’s of­fice did not re­spond to ques­tions about whether the leg­is­la­tion should ap­ply.

Tamer and Mat­tar are de­cid­ing whether to take their com­plaints fur­ther.

But the abuse they copped was a bet­ter ad­ver­tise­ment for a No vote than any num­ber of ke­babs or pam­phlets.

Pro­test­ers clash at Syd­ney Univer­sity.

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