Priest’s campaign to close legal defence for homophobic killers goes viral

An Australian Catholic priest's petition campaign to end the so-called 'gay panic defense' has received over 100,000 signatures in just a few days

Priest’s campaign to close legal defence for homophobic killers goes viral
16 July 2012

An Australian Catholic priest’s online campaign to close a controversial legal loophole in the state of Queensland’s Criminal Code has received a massive boost with nearly 160,000 people signing his petition – and over 100,000 of those in just the last few days.

Father Paul Kelly began campaigning on the issue after a man was killed in the grounds of his Maryborough church in 2008 and the killers acquitted of murder after one of the men claimed he had been reacting to a non-violent sexual advance.

Using the so-called ‘gay panic defense’ violent offenders argue that they were so provoked by an unwanted same-sex sexual advance that they were not in control of themselves, and should thus have murder charges downgraded to manslaughter.

‘I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society,’ Father Kelly said when launching the campaign.

‘While almost all other state governments have abolished similar laws, and refuse to admit evidence of non-violent homosexual advances in murder trials, nothing has changed here.’

Father Kelly relaunched his petition campaign last week on the website after Queensland’s new Attorney General, Jarod Bleijie, stated that he would not be changing the law under which the defense could be made.

The law was tightened in 2011 so that the defense could not be used where an advance was merely verbal and Bleijie said that had gone far enough.

Bleijie told ABC Radio on July 10 that he didn’t think there would be such a fuss if the same defense were being used in cases involving unwanted heterosexual advances.

‘If it had of been an unwanted sexual advance from anyone else I wonder whether you would even be talking to me about it,’ Bleijie said.

‘If it just had of been a man or a woman relying on that provision of the criminal code, I wonder if the media would be at all interested in it?’

Bleijie said there were sometimes legitimate cases where a provocation defense needed to be considered.

‘It depends on the circumstances, each case has to be assessed on its merit.’

The campaign has attracted a range of celebrity endorsements, including from actor and comedian Stephen Fry, author Neil Gaiman, and One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush.



No thumbnail available

New superhero show The Flash will feature two gay characters

New show will star Glee actor Grant Gustin as the superfast superhero in the spin-off of Arrow
No thumbnail available

Dying man seeks apology for anti-gay slur in his 1970 high school yearbook

Robin Tomlin haunted for decades after he was described as 'fag'
No thumbnail available

First gay UK couple marries in Vietnam

A young loving gay couple were married in Hanoi at the British Embassy under the new England and Wales same-sex marriage law
No thumbnail available

US school football fans in anti-gay banner outcry

Alabama's Spanish Fort supporters unfurl homophobic sign during televised Labor Day game
No thumbnail available

Venezuelan government urged to offer asylum to gay Ugandans

LGBT organizations are petitioning the Venezuelan foreign office to offer political asylum to LGBT Ugandans facing imprisonment in their home country under new anti-gay law
No thumbnail available

California set to ban gay 'conversion' therapy

Senator Ted Lieu says if minors suffer conversion therapy, it could lead to suicide
REVIEW: Le Saint Sulpice, Montreal

REVIEW: Le Saint Sulpice, Montreal

In the heart of a vibrant metropolis, this stylish home from home provides the perfect launch pad for exploring one of Canada’s most exciting cities
No thumbnail available

Rouhani-Obama meet overshadows Iran’s queer voices

Three Iranians and an online Persian magazine honored for their contribution to the cause of Iran’s invisible LGBT community
No thumbnail available

Gay bashed teen kicked out of New Mexico mall for ‘fighting’

A 14 year-old gay teen has reportedly been banned from the shopping mall where a teen called him queer and beat him to the ground
No thumbnail available

Majority of Americans agree nationwide same-sex marriage is inevitable

New polling by a Christian group has shown that 64 percent of Americans now believe same-sex marriage to be inevitable, country-wide, while 58 percent now agree that the issue is a civil rights issue akin to race or gender