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Lobby group slams Censor's 'gay agenda'

Sun 14 Oct 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

New Zealand's chief censor Bill Hastings is again under fire from a fringe conservative lobby group that says his decisions are seriously clouded by a 'gay agenda' and "years of watching porn". Chief Censor Bill Hastings The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards' executive director David Lane believes all hard-core pornography should be banned under New Zealand's censorship laws which guard against 'degrading, dehumanising or demeaning' content. "[Hastings] makes it very clear that being gay is a very significant part of his being, of how he addresses and perceives the world," Lane told this weekend's NZ Herald Canvass magazine. "Clearly, this does influence the way he assesses what's in the public good… When it comes to watching videos with scene of gay sex, he would have to be looking at that in perhaps a different way to a person who holds to a heterosexual understanding of marriage or fidelity to their spouse," concluded Lane. The Society has made similar remarks against Hastings several times, and maintains a vendetta against him on their website. For example in 2004, when Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ - which featured several scenes of graphic violence - was given an R16 rating, they alleged he was 'anti-Christian' and 'politically correct'. Then in January last year, the Society again called for the chief censor and his deputy to be replaced for failing to "protect the public from the pandemic of obscene and sexually degrading publications that care regularly cleared by the Office for adult 'entertainment'". In response, Hastings points out that banning everything with explicit content is against the principle of freedom of expression, which is a foundation of democracy. "I'm not a moral guardian. I just apply the law… I couldn't do my job if I was on some pro-gay crusade. Those claims are always based on really hurtful stereotypes, which are totally ridiculous and false," he says. "A gay agenda to get as much pornography out there as possible, I mean, you know, where does this come from?" Hastings was married for 12 years before coming out of the closet in 1997, the Canvass article reveals. Of coming out to his wife, he said: "I told her when… when I felt it." He also voiced his opinion that the Civil Union Bill was a nice offering to the gay community - but is still discriminatory because it falls short of allowing gay marriage. The censor would not say which political party he favours, but did point out that he entered the censors' office under a National government, and was then reappointed under Labour.     Ref: New Zealand Herald's Canvass magazine (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 14th October 2007 - 10:42pm

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