‘From today, saying a gay person made a pass at you will no longer be an acceptable, legal excuse for murder.’
Pop star Troye Sivan and his mom are celebrating the end of the archaic ‘gay panic defence’ law in Queensland.
Sivan and his mom Laurelle post a video congratulating Catholic Priest Father Paul Kelly who fought for years to have ‘gay panic’ abolished in the northern Australian state.
The ‘gay panic’ legal defence allowed men charged with murder to have their conviction downgraded to manslaughter if the victim made a sexual advance to them.
He took up the fight after Wayne Ruks was murdered in his church courtyard. Ruks’ killers avoided a murder conviction citing homosexual advance in defence.
‘After 5 years of relentlessly campaigning for the gay panic defence for murder to be scrapped from the legal books in Queensland, I can today, breathe a sigh of relief and accomplishment,’ Fr Kelly said.
‘I’m absolutely thrilled that the 290,000 signatures on my Change.org petition… led to the axing of this homophobic, archaic and outdated law.
‘An innocent man named Wayne was killed in my parish churchyard 8 years ago. The two men who killed him claimed Wayne made ‘sexual advances; on them, and cited the gay panic defence in court to justify his murder.
‘This injustice revolted me, and since then I’ve dedicated myself to a campaign to rid our legal system of this excuse for murder.’
In their celebratory video, Sivan and Laurelle thanked Fr Kelly for his hard work.
‘I wanted to say thank you so much to Father Paul Kelly for using your Change.org petition to fight for the abolition of the homophobic gay panic defence and for preventing killers from thinking it’s ok to kill gay men for making a pass at them or flirting with them,’ Sivan said.
Laurelle added; ’As a mother of a gay son this could not be more important to me. A huge congrats on your people power win,’
Another mother who welcomed the news was Joyce Kujala, a grieving mom whose son’s killers were charged with manslaughter.
‘I’ve waited 8 years for this day, for this dangerous, offensive excuse for murder to be abolished in Queensland,’ she said.
‘This outdated law could be used on anyone, regardless of sexuality. My son Wayne was not gay. The defence was used an excuse to get his offenders light sentences.’
Sivan is a multi-award winning singer/songwriter who was named one of Time’s most influential teens in 2014.