Stephen Fry is supporting a petition by an Australian Catholic priest to abolish the ‘gay panic’ defense in Queensland courts.
The comedian, writer and broadcaster was alerted to Father Paul Kelly’s impassioned campaign on Twitter by follower and Queensland resident Mark Tweedale.
Fry showed his support by retweeting a post linking to the petition, which calls on the state government to eradicate a loophole in the law allowing killers to argue their charge of murder should be downgraded to manslaughter, simply because their victim was gay and made a pass at them.
Writing on the petition website change.org, the priest from St Mary’s Parish church in Maryborough, Queensland, says the law belongs in the dark ages.
‘I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society,’ he added.
More than 12,000 people have signed the petition, which was set up by Kelly after a gay man was attacked and killed outside his church in 2008.
Kelly said: ‘Laws like the ‘gay panic’ defense are a crucial part of legitimizing and reinforcing a culture of hate which means that 73% of gay and lesbian Queenslanders are subjected to verbal abuse or physical violence for their sexuality.’