Teenager charged for defacing George Michael mural after Australia same-sex marriage vote
A teenager has been charged for defacing a George Michael mural in the wake of Australia’s Yes vote for same-sex marriage.
Police charged a 16-year-old boy with graffitiing the giant image of the late gay singer.
The painting was defaced several times in the past week, first being painted over and then amended with messages written over the top.
A second painting of Tony Abbott and cardinal George Pell was also vandalised.
New South Wales legislator Jenny Leong described the graffiti as “completely offensive homophobic messaging” and said they were “quite scary attempts to threaten people that are part of a community that want to celebrate difference and diversity and are celebrating a Yes vote”.
Police spotted a group of men graffitiing the murals Tuesday, six days after Australia voted Yes, including a man spotted defacing the George Michael mural.
He is the second person to be arrested for defacing the public art.
Originally the painting was covered in black paint, before counter-protestors wrote the words “LOVE WON”, “FREEDOM IS LOVE”, and “LOVE WILL WIN” were written across the black paint.
Some criticised the images after a mural showing former Prime Minister Tony Abbott with his hands down the cardinal’s pants painted after the postal vote result.
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Ms Leong told Radio Australia that “street art and art in general is provocative” but that “there are avenues for people to raise genuine concerns if they find offense at a certain piece of art of street mural”.
“The solution is not to organise really hateful and divisive vigilante groups to take matters into their own hands,” she said.
Almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot.
Australia now looks likely to become the 25th country in the world to introduce marriage for same-sex couples.
A day after the Australian public voted Yes for same-sex marriage, emotions ran high as a bill was introduced into the country’s Parliament to legislate for the change.
Yes responses represented 61.6 percent of responses with 38.4 percent voting No.
The Government has since vowed to push forward to legislate same-sex marriage by Christmas, and Opposition leader Bill Shorten has also said the same.