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Anger swells over bid to gay-proof Australian beach

MELBOURNE, Australia -- A proposed ''gay-proof fence'' designed to stop lewd behavior on the foreshore of a popular nudist beach has divided residents on the Mornington Peninsula, and infuriated equal opportunity groups.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will decide if prominent businessman Charles Jacobsen can build a 400-metre fence that would separate Moondah Beach from a public foreshore reserve in Mount Eliza. The reserve sits in front of Jacobsen's 11-hectare private estate and next to Sunnyside North - one of four ''clothing optional'' beaches in Melbourne.

''The whole idea of erecting a fence to keep out gay men specifically is ludicrous. It's blatant discrimination and fortunately our equal opportunity laws apply to public spaces,'' said Sarah Rogan, of the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby.

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