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Beaten up for being gay – now attacker gets to vote on his basic rights

A gay man who was brutally beaten in a homophobic abuse is not happy that his attacker will get to vote on his rights.

Josh Smith had his jaw shattered in 12 places after the shocking attack in Sydney, which took place several years ago.

A thug brutally beat Josh after spotting him walking with another man, leaving him with horrific injuries that took multiple surgeries to resolve.

In a letter this week, Mr Smith opened up about the fact that the man who caused him so much misery now gets to vote on his basic rights.

Australia is currently holding a public vote on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. But Josh has an important message.

Speaking to the Mail, Mr Smith said:

“These people still get to vote.  His opinion on whether or not my community should have equal rights is considered just as valid as mine.  He’s going to get this letter, just the same as me. He’s going to tick a box, just like me… and his vote will be counted, just like mine.  I’m so angry that we all have to go through this. It’s degrading and it’s dehumanizing.”

Mr Smith is hopeful that Australia will vote for equal marriage, as he is waiting for the right to marry his partner Marc Bogunovic.

John Smith
John Smith

He said: “All this ridiculous charade accomplishes is a platform for those who should have been kept silent to spit and scream and spew all the hate they want, only to then hide behind ‘freedom of speech.

“Some voices don’t need to be heard.”

He added: “Hate crimes like this are an enormous part of why it’s so important that we normalize same sex relationships and shift the way society as a whole views homosexuality so this kind of thing doesn’t happen to future generations.

Of the attack, he said: “He did it simply because I’m gay and was walking down the street with another man.

“Not holding hands, not kissing or being ‘in your face’ about it. Just walking down the road having a good time… I hadn’t even looked in his direction.”

The attacker was only given a $550 fine.

Mr Smith said: “He was free to go with no real consequence other than a slap on the wrist, while I spent six months in an our of hospital.

“I still consider myself lucky because if he had hit me that hard, just a little higher up, I’d be dead.

“It’s hard to grasp having someone almost kill you for no real reason.”

There has been an ugly spate of homophobic incidents in the country as it holds a public vote on equal marriage.

Earlier this week a mother in Melbourne was sent a letter threatening her children after she put up a rainbow flag.

Last month a cafe was threatened with arson for supporting the Yes campaign while a 14 year old girl received a death threat for supporting marriage equality on social media.

PinkNews revealed last month that the anti-LGBT Coalition for Marriage is telling activists to play to fears over gay sex and gender issues.

The group bills itself as a “grassroots movement” that will be on “the front line to defend traditional marriage in Australia”.

At an induction session for Coalition for Marriage activists attended by a PinkNews reporter, the group’s campaign leadership told activists to play up fears over “radical gay sex education” and transgender issues.

Three Australian Prime Ministers were at loggerheads over equal marriage this week, as anti-gay former PM Tony Abbott viciously mocked former PM Bob Hawke after Hawke criticised the vote called by current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Tony Abbott has become the most prominent voice of the anti-gay lobby as Australia votes on equal marriage – alienating much of his own family in the process.

After Abbott suggested it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple, his own daughter Frances spoke out for equality, appearing in a TV ad on the opposing side of the debate to her dad.

The ex-leader has taken his opposition to LGBT rights to surreal extremes, lashing out at “transgender marriage” and demanding censorship of a Macklemore performance over gay anthem ‘Same Love’.

The Equality Campaign last month released a video and image of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 87, backing the YES campaign for marriage equality.

The Equality Campaign’s Alex Greenwich said: “Our campaign is delighted to have the support of one of the greatest Australian Prime Ministers because he is a man who has always believed in a fair go and this is simply what our campaign is about.

“Bob Hawke is showing leadership for a fair go and like millions of Australians wants to get this done.

“Marriage equality is a straightforward question of fairness and equality. Every Australian should be treated equally under the law and that includes being able to marry the person they love.

“Every Australian should be treated with the same dignity and respect and that is why we encourage everyone to vote YES and post back their survey immediately.”

He added: “We have been so encouraged by supporters across the nation who are getting behind the campaign for equality because this vote is about whether the members of our families, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and team mates will be afforded the same status and dignity as every other Australian.

“Civil marriage equality will not a change anything for the vast majority of Australians but it will make a profound difference to the lives and dignity of LGBTI Australians.

“This is and must be a unifying moment for the nation as we include all Australians in our marriage laws and send a powerful message that every Australian is equal.”

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