Opinion

EDITORIAL: Gay panic defence has no defence

EDITORIAL: A few years ago, Catholic priest Paul Kelly, formerly of Maryborough, started an unsuccessful petition in a bid to rid the state of the controversial "gay panic defence" which was used as a defence strategy in two relatively recent court cases in the Heritage City.

Years on, the fight to change laws regarding so-called gay panic continues, and now Brisbane's Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall has thrown his support behind the push to get the Homosexual Advance Defence removed from Queensland common law.

The law means that a charge of murder could be reduced to manslaughter if the defendant can establish that their victim "came on to them" and the killing was in "self-defence".

Dr Aspinall told AAP that he believed Fr Kelly was "on the right track, well and truly" when it came to abolishing the defence.

It's hard to believe a defence like this could still exist in these so-called enlightened times, particularly when men of the cloth - not always known as the greatest friends of the gay and lesbian community - can clearly see the bigotry, prejudice and intolerance inherent in this defence.

It should be clear to everyone - particularly lawmakers.

Dr Aspinall addressed the ridiculous nature of the law when speaking after his Easter Sunday mass.

"I don't think it's reasonable to murder someone who approaches you sexually," he said. "Violence is never a constructive response."

It's time this defence was consigned to the past once and for all.

Topics:  carlie walker, editorial, gay panic, maryborough, petition



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