Back on the 18th of this month I wrote THIS post. Well, looky what I just had arrive in my inbox from Change.org where I found the original petition:
“We’re changing the Criminal Code to remove doubts about the so-called “gay panic” defence” -- QLD Premier Anna Bligh via Twitter on Wednesday.
Huge news! The Queensland Government has committed to closing the “gay panic” defence to murder. Father Paul Kelly saw the defence used first hand after a man was murdered in his Church's courtyard -- so he started a Change.org petition to change the law. After more than 25,000 people signed and huge media coverage across Australia, new legislation will close this archaic loophole.
Melissa, huge news!
The Queensland government has committed to closing the “gay panic” loophole used to defend murder. The changes will hopefully all but relegate the “gay panic” defence to the history books by making the defence invalid unless there are "exceptional circumstances".
It’s an extraordinary victory -- for Father Kelly, and all those who have been part of the explosion of support to eliminate the ”gay panic” defence in Queensland.
Father Kelly was shocked after seeing the defence used to defend a brutal killing in his Church’s courtyard. He couldn’t accept that such an archaic and openly discriminatory loophole still existed in Queensland -- so he started a Change.org petition to have it wiped from the law books.
More than 25,000 people signed Father Kelly’s Change.org petition -- with support coming from his local Member of Parliament and British comedian Stephen Fry. It sparked a media and social media furore that the government couldn’t ignore. The Attorney-General personally responded in an opinion piece on The Punch last week after front page coverage in the Courier Mail. On Tuesday the campaign was featured on The Project andABC Radio National -- and the government changed its stance the next morning.
For decades, governments have turned a blind eye to the “gay panic” loophole. Just last year, the Attorney-General changed laws surrounding the “gay panic” loophole, again failing to address it properly.
The victory is an extraordinary example of people power -- and a testament to the power of anyone, anywhere to start, join and win campaigns about issues they care about.
Thank you -- Father Kelly believes that the “gay panic” defence is dead in this country, and it's sent a message that it’s unacceptable to leave loopholes in legislation that defends violence against the gay and lesbian community in any shape or form. He'll continue this campaign until he's sure the defence can't ever be used again, and hopes you'll join him. If you’re aware of something that’s discriminatory, unfair or just plain wrong, remember that you can always start a campaign on Change.org - click here to start a petition.
Nathan, Bobbi, Suzanne, Tony, Nick and the Change.org team.
For all of you who read my original post and signed the petition - well done! And to Anna Bligh - great decision.