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Queensland has finally abolished their f***ing absurd ‘gay panic’ defence

Last night the Queensland Parliament passed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill to amend section 304 of the criminal code – a law which contained a loophole colloquially known as the ‘gay panic’ defence.

gay panic

About fucking time: Queensland has finally abolished their absurd ‘gay panic’ defence meant that a “non-violent homosexual advance” could be grounds for a murder charge to be downgraded to manslaughter.

The completely fucking absurd loophole meant that a “non-violent homosexual advance” could be grounds for a murder charge to be downgraded to manslaughter – an archaic defence that thankfully now has been almost been put to rest in Australia.

Queensland is the second last state to repeal the ‘gay panic’ defence (seriously South Australia, what the fuck?). It follows an five year long campaign led by Father Paul Kelly, sparked by the violent death of Wayne Ruks in the town of Maryborough, QLD.

Ruks’ killers got off with a lighter sentence after they alleged that he made homosexual advances towards them.

Father Kelly was the priest at St Mary’s, the church where Ruks was killed. Since it was launched in 2012, his Change.org petition to change the law has amassed nearly 300,000 signatures.

“I am so enormously grateful that this law has been abolished… A clear message has been sent that all people are equally deserving of the protection of the law irrespective of gender or sexuality,” Father Kelly said in an interview with VICE.

“It tells the community that it’s not a mitigating factor for extreme violence that someone made a pass at them, either real or imagined. The law has unambiguously rejected any implication that sexuality is an excuse for intolerance, violence, and bigotry.”

Gay comedian, broadcaster and activist Tom Ballard published a piece in the Brisbane Times yesterday following the news where he wrote:

“I cannot help but be filled with hope by this small victory. I’m no fan of organised religion and the Catholic Church in particular has a less-than-glowing record on queer rights, and yet here I am, standing side-by-side with a Catholic priest, working together to overturn this homophobic law; a law that demeans same-sex attracted Australians and perverts the cause of justice. I am inspired and grateful that so many of my fellow citizens recognise that injustice.”

Read the excellent piece here.

Again. Seriously South Australia, what the fuck.

[via VICE]