A theology student's bid to have sexual orientation protected from hate speech after a pastor ordered gay people to be shot has been dismissed, but he's not giving up.
Russell Hoban complained to the Human Rights Review Tribunal saying he felt scared and unprotected by a pastor's published views on homosexuality.
Controversial New Zealand pastor Logan Robertson in a 2017 sermon posted online had claimed the Bible talked about "homo death".
"I am not against them getting married ... as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss," Robertson said.
Police and the Human Rights Commission did not take action against Robertson because of the limitations of the Human Rights Act 1993, Hoban said in his complaint.
He referred to Section 61 of the Act, which provides the legal basis that makes hate speech an offence if it relates to colour, race, and ethnic or national origins.
Sexual orientation is not covered in the section.
Hoban wrote in his claim that as a gay man he had "experienced years of feeling hounded, discriminated against and silenced".
"Others are protected by the Human Rights Act but because of my sexual orientation, I am treated differently.
"I want to see the legislation change to include other groups such as transgenders and persons with disabilities," he told the tribunal.
In March the tribunal declined Hoban's request and the claim was dismissed.
The tribunal accepted that Section 61 of the Act could be "out of date" because of changing social attitudes and increased awareness of discrimination against people who identify as LGBTQI.
But discrimination on the grounds of colour, race and ethnicity remained significant.
"Racism is both endemic and enduring," the decision read.
Attorney-General David Parker also said New Zealand has no Treaty obligations to enact laws forbidding hate speech based on sexual orientation, although Parliament was likely to consider the issue in the near future.
He said Parliament was the right venue for debate about the scope of hate speech laws, and the "balance between freedom of expression and the harm caused by that speech".
"In a free and democratic society, there will always be a public and political contest over priorities to be given to human rights protection," the tribunal decision read.
"It is not required or practicable for every possible improvement to human rights protection to be enshrined in legislation."
It also said sexual orientation has been listed in Section 21 of the Act as a prohibited ground of discrimination since 1993, and protection is "accordingly available".
Hoban, who is doing a doctorate in theology at the University of Auckland and describes himself as religious, has decided he will now appeal the matter to the High Court.
"I was extremely disappointed and confused by the judgment, which appears in my limited legal abilities, to be completely inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993," Hoban told Open Justice.
"Religious belief remains a pillar of discrimination in our country and is frequently used to express outrageous views around sex, sexual orientation and gender expression.
"It is unacceptable that young LGBTQI+ people in crisis hear such statements as Mr Robertson's go unchallenged, and there is no accountability," Hoban said.
Open Justice was unable to reach Robertson for comment.