An Auckland man calling for an expansion of hate speech laws has taken his case against the Attorney-General to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
Russell Hoban said he was discriminated against in 2017 when West Auckland pastor Logan Robertson made inciteful comments against homosexuals that were reported on in the media.
"My view on homo marriage is that the Bible never mentions it so I'm not against them getting married," Robertson said at the time.
"As long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss ... Because that's what it talks about - not homo marriage but homo death."
But, the law had no response to his speech because it was targeted towards homosexuals, and was not on the basis of colour, race, ethnic or national origins.
The Office of Human Rights Proceedings' director, lawyer Michael Timmins, is representing the man and argued that the comments made him feel unsafe, bewildered and threatened.
He said the current hate speech provisions under the Human Rights Act fail to protect people on the basis of sexual orientation.
Hoban had previously taken the case to the Human Rights Commission for mediation, however this was not successful so he took his case to the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, which is now providing free legal representation to him.
Central to his argument is how provisions under section 61 of the Human Rights Act, which can provide a civil remedy for hate speech, does not include sexual orientation as a grounds to bring action.
Timmins told the Hearing in Wellington today that the omission of sexual orientation in the Act crystallises that discrimination.
He said in his client's lived experience he'd "been treated as a second class citizen".
Previously Hoban said he had thought that the Human Rights Act had included discrimination based on sexual orientation and would protect him, however discovering it did not felt like "double" discrimination.
The case comes as the Government begins work to extend protections from ethnic or racial groups to include those based on religious belief, sexual orientation, age or disability.
A Cabinet paper from December last year looked at moving hate speech offences into the Crimes Act and increasing penalties to up to three years' jail.
But instead of introducing a bill and getting feedback at select committee, Justice Minister Chris Faafoi said public consultation on the proposals would take place "very soon".
Despite the proposal to change the law to include sexual orientation, the Office of Human Rights Proceedings said in a Media release that the Attorney-General is continuing to say the current settings are not discriminatory.
The plaintiff disagrees and says current law fails to protect him and is therefore discriminatory on the basis of his sexual orientation.
He said he doesn't hold his breath anymore, in regard to waiting for a law change and the pastor's comments were a "clear case of incitement to violence".
The Tribunal is set to run until Wednesday.