Maryborough priest Paul Kelly has renewed his calls to abolish Queensland’s so-called “gay panic” defence after a lack of action from the state government on the issue.
The Queensland case law precedent allows people accused of murder to claim they were provoked to kill by an unwanted homosexual advance, the ABC reports.
Fr Kelly first began his years-long crusade against the defence after Wayne Robert Ruks, 45, was fatally bashed by two men on Kelly’s Maryborough church grounds in 2008.
One of Ruks’ killers was found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder after he told the court Ruks had approached him sexually.
A petition Fr Kelly started on Change.org has attracted more than 237,000 signatures from those all over the world who want to abolish the defence but he said successive governments had been slow to act.
“It just seems such an archaic law and tantamount to enshrining bigotry and hate crimes,” Father Kelly told the ABC.
Whilst almost all other state and territory governments have abolished similar laws, Queensland and South Australia are the last states where the partial murder defence remains.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’ath said in a statement to the ABC that the government was working on Labor’s election commitment to ensure that an unwanted sexual advance could not be used as a partial defence unless there were exceptional circumstances.