Who could use a reminder today that not all Christians are homophobic lunatics trying to bend the Bible to justify their bigotry? Meeeeeee!
So let’s give props to the Catholic priest Paul Kelly of Maryborough, Australia, who took a stand against — and illuminated the horrific stupidity — of one of his nation’s most cruelly backward laws. As Kelly explains in the Change.org petition he started, “A loophole in Queensland law allows people accused of murder to defend themselves in court by claiming ‘gay panic’ — that is, if someone who they think is gay ‘comes onto’ them, the sheer panic they feel is partial justification for murder.” And you thought Stand Your Ground was dangerously insane? There are places in the world where the mere perception that someone of your own gender might be into you gives you the right to kill him or her.
As Kelly writes, “A man was killed in my church’s grounds, and one of his killers used this same ‘gay panic’ defence. They were eventually acquitted of murder.” In 2008 Wayne Robert Ruks was punched and kicked to death by two men at the church. His killers claimed Ruks “made homosexual advances” and tried to grab Pearce’s crotch. They were jailed for the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Ruks’ family, by the way, has stated that he wasn’t gay. And Opposition Leader Campbell Newman argues that “it’s important to note that the defence of provocation is not based on one sexuality, it’s open to any Queenslander.” But the Queensland government vowed six months ago to close the legal loophole that would allow a defendant to use the claim of nonviolent homosexual advances as a justification for killing in Queensland.
Sadly, that promise recently fell through. Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie confirmed on Monday that “the Liberal National Party remains tough on crime. However, given these laws are yet to be tested, (it) does not intend to make any further amendments to the provocation defence at this time.” He described any amendment to existing law as “unnecessary.”
Kelly said, “I’m utterly appalled that a law that
This article originally appeared on: http://www.salon.com/2012/07/16/gay_panic_is_not_a_defense/