Chris Foley signs Fr Paul Kelly’s petition to overturn the use of “gay panic” as a partial defence in murder cases.
Chris Foley signs Fr Paul Kelly’s petition to overturn the use of “gay panic” as a partial defence in murder cases. Karleila Thomsen

Petition gathers 17,000 names

ABOUT four signatures a minute are being added to Maryborough priest Paul Kelly's online petition to abolish the "gay panic" legal defence, after the campaign attracted international attention.

The list of names soared past 17,000 at 3pm yesterday, but Father Kelly believes the Attorney-General's Department is not doing enough to close the legal loophole.

Attorney-General Paul Lucas claims the laws have been tightened after the matter was referred to Queensland Law Reform Commission.

"You don't meddle with the Criminal Code lightly," Mr Lucas said.

"That's why it's important to take expert advice and that's what the government has done at all stages."

But Fr Kelly believes the Attorney-General's Department is splitting hairs over wording of the legislation.

"Non-violent sexual advance, as a reason for provocation, remains a partial defence in Queensland law," Fr Kelly said.

"True, non-violent sexual advance doesn't distinguish between homosexual or heterosexual advance - but in practice, recent cases suggest it's only being used in the context of homosexuality. In other words, 'gay panic'."

Signatures soared after British comedian Stephen Fry re-tweeted a link to the campaign to his 3.7 million followers on Twitter, and popular fantasy writer Neil Gaiman has also urged his 1.7 million Twitter followers to sign.

To sign the petition, visit change.org and search for "homosexual advance".



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