Gay kiss at Atheist Convention
The Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne on the weekend attracted some 5,000 attendees to see speakers including Richard Dawkins, A.C. Grayling, Lawrence Krauss, Geoffrey Robertson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
On Saturday, star attraction Richard Dawkins, speaking on the merits of religion, said Islam was “more evil” than Christianity in terms of its moral code.
Self-described “infidel” Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who spoke before Dawkins on the rights of Muslim women, said Saudi Arabian women were protected from harm in the afterlife, "because it was impossible to go to hell twice”.
Fiona Patten from the Australian Sex Party, which champions the rights of queer Australians, spoke on a panel about the dangers of allowing religion to interfere with politics.
Earlier, Patten called for the religious affiliations of politicians to be a matter of public record.
“We need a religious register for state and federal MPs so that all Australians can see where politicians are coming from when they vote or debate moral legislation,” Patten said.
A small group of Christian protesters gathered in an area outside the Convention Centre, and although there were exchanges of opinion, there were no violent conflicts.
Gay rights advocate Gregory Storer, along with his partner, took the opportunity to kiss in front of a group of Muslims who had also gathered to protest the conference.
“My partner Michael and I took advantage of the moment to kiss in front of the group,” Storer said in a statement.
“We understand that in some Islamic States gay people are persecuted and executed for their sexuality. It was an ideal opportunity to challenge the notion of acceptance and tolerance. As we began kissing, the Muslims began chanting, 'Burn in hell'.”
IMAGE: Greg Storer and his partner Michael kiss in front of Muslim protesters at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne on the weekend. Photo: Pete Darwin