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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 12, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 19
Christian activist pies Gay Qantas CEO
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Christian activist pies Gay Qantas CEO

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A man shoved a lemon meringue pie into the face of Gay Qantas CEO Alan Joyce as he was speaking at a business luncheon on May 9. The assailant was subsequently identified as Tony Overheu, a right-wing Christian activist.

Overheu told reporters that he wanted to make a statement protesting Joyce's support for same-sex marriage.

'There's some really crude stuff going on here, and Joyce has been very much leading the issue,' Overheu told Australia's 7News.

Overheu, who is 67, is a senior member of the Church of Christ and the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International.

Marriage equality is a contentious issue in Australian politics. The governing coalition - usually called the Liberal-National Coalition - promised to call a national vote on marriage but failed to get the necessary legislation through the Australian Senate.

The opposition Labor Party has a pro-equality pledge in its platform. Polling shows that 57% of Australian voters would vote yes in a referendum for same-sex marriage.

For his part, Joyce said he would continue to campaign for same-sex marriage.

'My opinion on this has not changed,' Alan Joyce said in a May 10 statement. 'We'll continue to speak about important social issues, including indigenous reconciliation, gender diversity, and marriage equality, because it's the right thing to do.'

Joyce has been Qantas CEO since 2003 and lives with his partner of 17 years. He will not divulge the man's identity, however. Joyce told the Sydney Herald newspaper his partner is 'very private, he doesn't like being talked about.'

Overheu was arrested after the pie incident. He will not be charged with assault, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but will be charged with giving police false information.

Overheu is also in trouble at home. He told reporters his wife is furious at him and says his actions were not consistent with Christianity. Meanwhile, one of his daughters posted a message on social media supporting same-sex marriage but added, 'I love my idiot dad.'

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