A mural honoring late gay musician George Michael has been vandalized in Sydney just days after Australians voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in a national postal survey, the Mirror reports.
One man defaced the colorful memorial with black paint while another man filmed him. Witnesses say that onlookers protested and attempted to stop the vandalism by tipping over their paint roller trays.
Police were called to the scene and issued the lead vandal a court summons. When questioned, he called the mural, which features a saintly Michael wearing rainbow-colored religious garments and smoking pot, “sacrilegious.” He added, “It’s not right that people can paint whatever they want and incite religious hatred.”
Neighborhood residents have since scrawled pro-LGBT messages over the black paint.
A group called Christian Lives Matter reportedly urged followers on Facebook to commit the crime in an effort to “protect the eyes of innocent children” from the George Michael mural, which they deemed “offensive, discriminatory, and pornographic.”
The group is also believed to have defaced a nearby pro-marriage equality mural featuring former Prime Minister Toby Abbott and Cardinal George Pell.
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) November 17, 2017
The Australian Statistics Bureau announced earlier this week that Aussies had voted in favor of same-sex marriage by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%. An estimated 12.7 million Australians, or 79.5% of the entire electorate, turned in ballots before the national postal survey ended on November 7.
While the survey is not legally binding, it will fuel efforts in parliament to pass an equal-marriage law as early as Christmas. Liberal Party Senator Dean Smith says he will introduce a marriage bill immediately.