Qantas gay marriage pie protester charged with assault

Qantas gay marriage pie protester charged with assault
Qantas chief Alan Joyce.
PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY - A devout Christian who smashed a pie into Qantas chief Alan Joyce's face to protest gay marriage was charged Thursday by Australian police with assault, trespassing and damage.

The 67-year-old - who local media identified as former farmer Tony Overheu - walked on stage at a business breakfast event in Perth Tuesday and shoved a lemon meringue pie into the stunned Irishman's face.

Joyce, a vocal supporter of equal rights, said Wednesday he would continue to speak up on marriage equality despite the incident.

Overheu, already facing a charge of giving false details to officers, was slapped with three new charges of "common assault, trespass and damage", Western Australia Police said in a statement.

He is due to appear in court on June 7.

In March Joyce, who is gay, was one of 20 chief executives of some of Australia's largest companies to sign a joint letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in support of marriage equality.

Overheu told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Joyce's marriage stance meant "in that context he was appropriate (to target)".

Australia is accused of lagging behind a growing number of countries on marriage reform.

Same-sex couples can have civil unions or register their relationships in most states across Australia, but the government does not consider them married under national law.

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