Catholic Priest Speaks Out for Equality in the Law
Let’s start the new year off on a positive note.
A Catholic priest in Queensland, Australia, is leading the charge to eliminate the “gay panic” defense from the law there. Also known as the “homosexual advance defense,” this is a moved where lawyers say that an accused person killed a person because of being sexually propositioned. This defense is used to lessen a charge from murder to manslaughter or lighten a sentence . There is no equivalent for a heterosexual advance.
In an article posted on PinkNew.co.uk, Fr. Paul Kelly is quoted saying:
“It is simply intolerable that anyone can rely on a defence or an excuse that an alleged homosexual advance could somehow mitigate against violence that leads to death.”
Kudos to Fr. Kelly for standing up for equality in justice!
Let’s hope and pray that his will the pattern for the year of many priests, bishops, and Catholic leaders speaking out for justice and equality for LGBT people. We know that many Catholic leaders privately support rights. Let’s hope that in the new year they will start speaking out about what their consciences tell them.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
While hopeful, the Church is a bit behind the times. In the 1999 Matthew Shepard trial, Judge Barton R. Voigt ruled that lawyers for the accused (Aaron McKinney) could not use a ”gay panic” defense to justify the actions of their client. The related New York Times article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/02/us/judge-rejects-gay-panic-as-defense-in-murder-case.html?ref=aaronjamesmckinney