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Catholic priest petitions to remove Australian “gay panic defence”

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  1. Can we please remember this when making huge generalisations about the attitudes of religion and religious people towards our community. Not all religious people are over-zealous bigots.

    1. Sorry, but one has nothing to do with the other. I’m guessing that you are religious? Most comments are made when SPECIFIC attacks have been made against GLBTI people, by religious people or by Church clergy/imams/haredi spokespeople. As such, people are justified IN THIS FORUM to say as they please.

      1. Surely the fact that a Catholic priest is opposing a homophobic law does show that not all religious people are over-zealous bigot?

        “people are justified IN THIS FORUM to say as they please.” And people are also justified in criticising others’ comments. Homophobia – by the religious or non-religious- should always be opposed, but so should seeing every religious person as homophobic.

        I’m with Sarah on this one

        1. ” but so should seeing every religious person as homophobic.”

          Well, thousands of years of hatred, prejudice, mocking and murdering LGBT people shouldn’t make anyone suspicious about religious people at all then should it?
          Seriously, did you actually go to school?

          Hang on, here’s a thought, why don’t you go to the pacifc, find a location where great whites swim, cut yourself and allow your blood to drain in to the murky depths; you have nothing to fear, not all great whites are dangerous. Go ahead, I’m still waiting, oh you seem a bit quite, you’re an idiot.

          It’s the nature of the beast, of course there is an exception to every rule. But every religious person I have ever met who follows a judeo-christian faith has an issue with LGBT people, simply becaue they follow an archaic imaginary sky fairy of a bunch of nomadic murdering sheep herders from 6000 years ago.

          Religious people in general are hateful against LGBT people. FACT!!!

          1. Generalisations are dangerous things and do not win rights …

          2. “Judge not lest you yourself be judged” (Jesus Christ)

        2. No, definitely not all!
          I guess this priest now only has to wait on being kicked out of the RCC…

      2. Spanner1960 30 Dec 2011, 1:47pm

        Tarring everyone with the same brush is the first defence of bigots.
        Attacking someone for their religious beliefs is just as bad as attacking someone for their sexuality or race.

        Stop following the stereotypes and judge each individual on their own merits.

        1. @Spanner1960

          Not often we agree on an issue that involves religion as an aspect … but you got it spot on, here …

      3. Miguel Sanchez 30 Dec 2011, 3:56pm

        Then I can say this. You’re the homophobic biggot. This priest stood up not only for gay rights but basic human rights.

    2. @Sarah


      Of course, there are some extremely bigoted religious people (and some bigoted people without any faith) … some denominations have leaders or influential people whose behaviour is reprehensible …

      Equally, there are some leaders (some of whom have clearly spoken out to denounce those who perpetuate bigotry) and some who condemn bigotry in less obvious ways – who are clearly in favour of equality and human rights …

      Whilst we should denounce, with vigour, those who are bigoted – we should take care to ensure that we respect and encourage our allies.

    3. Australia is fond of discussing and democratizing human rights, incl. gay rights, leaving decision making of human rights up to the entire nation of beer swilling, football baracking hoodlams even though under international law it is obligated to protect rights NOT cherry pick who is more deserving. It is the height of hypocrasy to be discussing the mitigating level of killing and murder metted out to gay ppl. merely on the specious pretext of orientation. Under this law, apprarently there is ‘murder lite.’ and out n out murder (if ur straight). Australia had an exhausting govt. talkfest to discuus the implementation of a bill of rights
      headed by a catholic jesuit priest if u don’t mind!!! Naturally he took a softly softly approach to gay rights and was all smoke and mirrors. The result? No Federal bill of rights and a paper tiger with asterisks and sunset clauses for faith based groups. The level of conservatism here defies anything apartied Sth Africa could ever dish out.

      1. @JackAlison

        Do you have evidence to demonstrate that this particular priest is showing hypocracy in bringing forward this petition? Do you know his approach to LGBT rights in the past?

        This petition is about the government levelling the playing field – failure to act would demonstrate cherry picking – but surely that is the point of this petition to get the level playing field we all seek?

        This petition is a positive approach to supporting LGBT people … I am sure (like many countries) Australia has many more things to do to ensure a level playing field, but nonetheless the priest proposing this petition is an ally (at the very least in this matter) of LGBT people – and that should be welcomed …

    4. If you donate money to the Catholic church or attend their ceremonies you’re part of the problem. Period.

    5. Jock S. Trap 2 Jan 2012, 2:17pm

      misguided comment Sarah considering most comment on the story at hand. When we are attacked we right fight back but yes when something good comes we must accept that.

      Sadly these stories though are few and fair and prehaps if more religious people stood up against the extremists more would accept the good.

      1. @Jock S Trap

        I kind of agree with the sentiment of your comment

        However, sadly given that this is a story about a supportive religious person – its sad that some people still choose to use it as an opportunity to attack …

        You say these stories are few – there have been quite a number in the last 2 or 3 months (but I know you havent been about for all of that) …

        Religious people are standing up in many different ways and some of them are now being reported …

        That said, we need to strongly engage to condemn and challenge the extremists …

  2. Christine Beckett 30 Dec 2011, 10:48am


    I wonder if the Vatican has OK’d his stance? Bet he gets a visit from his bishop soon….


    1. Maybe the vatican has not … maybe he will get a visit from a bishop …

      Even more reason to recognise this priest as an ally and encourage his stance to improve human rights

  3. Credit where credit’s due… Father Kelly is taking a principled stand for gay rights when previous form suggests that many others further up the hierachy of the Catholic Church would happily let this one slide, so for that I applaud him.
    That takes guts. If only there were more like him at the top.

    1. Absolutely.

      We are only too keen to condemn (admittedly often where it is appropriate) – so we should also congratulate those who do take a principled stand and are allies of those seeking equality and fairness …

      Hopefully Fr Kelly’s stance might encourage others to do so – particularly if they see that his approach wins him plaudits from inside and outside the church …

  4. Well done, Paul Kelly. Nice to see a catholic priest with a conscience.

  5. Nathan Thomas 30 Dec 2011, 11:21am

    Great stuff

  6. Father Kelly is bang on! I cringe any time I hear of a case where there is a “Panic Defense” as he says there is no defense that makes the crime any less tolerable, acceptable.

    Because of death the victim can’t defend or refute the claim of gay defense or speak of events. Does that mean the the accused has an advantage? I believe that he/she does, and hate crimes get leniently punished because of these laws.

    I always think of the Mathew Sheppard case where the two accused used this defense. Any one that knows the case can understand why it should never be allowed.

  7. “The church has always defended basic human rights, it’s never said intolerance or violence should be tolerated.”

    Its cute when they pretend to actually care.

    Bit of a circular argument… intolerance should not be tolerated… but then these are the people responsible for the bible.

    1. yea..there is something troubling about that particular statement.

  8. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Dec 2011, 1:40pm

    If only the majority of Catholic priests were so inclined. This priest is to be congratulated. Thank you, Father Kelly.

  9. Jennie Kermode 30 Dec 2011, 1:49pm

    Like many such laws, this is one that should worry straight people too if they thought about it. After all, “He propositioned me,” is an easy thing to say about any dead man, even if it’s hard to make it stick.

  10. “The church has always defended basic human rights”

    I’m surprised he made it through that sentence without the irony blowing his head clean off his shoulders.

    1. It has, unfortunately it all really rather depends who is Pope, and what kinds of priests form the curia.

  11. A very surprising move by a catholic priest, but a welcome one.
    Any consideration of mitigation or defence in a murder trial should be considered during the trial. Allowing charges to be lessened on the basis of a “homosexual advance” is something to be considered only as part of the defence plea, not as an automatic right.

  12. Besides being a human rights advocate, Paul Kelly is a talented songwriter and performer:

    It will be interesting to see how this works out.

  13. I’m no expert in criminal codes, but it seems the ‘gay advance’ provocation loophole was closed in Australia in March 2011.

    1. @Jonpol

      I may be wrong but I think the story you mention relates soely to the state of Queensland, whereas Paul Kelly is seeking for the defence to be moved across the Commonwealth of Australia

  14. If only a Catholic priest had started a petition to remove pedophile Catholic priest from the Catholic Church, thousands of children would not have been raped and abused and their lives and the lives of their families would have been destroyed by pedophile Catholic priest and the Catholic Church.

    1. Do you welcome this stance by Fr Kelly, Paul?

    2. Because if there’s one thing political (sorry, “religious”) leaders and pedophiles pay attention to it’s petitions.

  15. Janet Lameck 30 Dec 2011, 8:58pm

    Good man! Murder is murder and there are NO defences against it, you do the crime, you do the time!

    1. Well there are defences such as insanity and mitigation such as provocation (eg victim of repeated domestic violence) … but the gay panic defence is wrong and outdated

    2. The bottom line is there’s a distinction to be drawn between “He was in the process of raping me so I whacked him over the head with an iron bar in self-defence”, and “he said he quite fancied me so I whacked him over the head with an iron bar in self-defence”.
      The gay panic defense muddies that distinction. If you applied gay panic defence logic to the straight dating scene, every nightclub would be a bloodbath on a Saturday night.

      1. @Flapjack

        Absolutely there is a distinction …

        Clearly self defence eg rape, repeated domestic violence etc etc may justify using force of such ferrocity that it kills. Each case needs to be considered on the circumstances relevant to it.

        However,I doubt any reasonable person would justify any violence (let alone violence resulting in a fatality) as a response to being told that someone fancies you …

        Have to say I have seen more fights in non gay venues that in gay venues … maybe some heterosexuals need more excuses – well, this one doesn’t wash ….

  16. GingerlyColors 31 Dec 2011, 12:37am

    I must admit that I am a bit uncomfortable with the amount of religious phobia on the comments pages on this site. By tarring all religions, and Christians and Muslims in particular with the same brush, we are lowering ourselves to the same level as the bigots. As I have mentioned before, not all Muslim countries criminalize homosexuality and some Catholic countries allow Civil Unions or even gay marriage.

    1. I agree that many religious people that I know are not in the least homophobic, and in fact have been very supportive of me and my relationships. Nevertheless the position of religious leaders has been less positive. In each of the catholic countries that permit gay marriage or civil unions the catholic church opposed the move at every step. In Muslim countries where homosexuality has been decriminalised it has been down to the fact that the secular authorities advanced human rights.

    2. @GingerlyColors

      I profoundly agree with you.

      I would not for a moment wish to support the theological or other stances of religions … but I recognise that the stereotyping that all religious people are homophobic is wrong … I understand the church (and other faiths) have done plenty to cause anxiety and distress in LGBT circles (including to me), nonetheless I have received some amazing support about my orientation and relationship issues from friends with strong faiths … also some LGBT people are religious …

      Saying all Catholics (or all Christians for that matter) are homophobic or child abusers is like some of the trolls on here saying that all gay men are promiscuous barebacking sluts … Neither position is correct … as Spanner rightly said earlier – we should judge each person on their own merits and demerits …

      None of my stance on this should excuse any of the horrendous acts of certain individuals, leaders and religious groupings …

  17. A gay panic defence shouldnt exist full stop. Irrelivent if religious persons condemn it or not.

    The idea you can commit murder and have an exscuse is disgusting.

  18. Har Davids 31 Dec 2011, 3:10pm

    Actions speak louder than words; I’ll never be a catholic, but I don’t mind supporting the cause of a priest who’s fighting injustice.

  19. As a lawyer, I really HATE the amount of time people spend on this issue. In Australia, gay panic defence is not formally recognised in ANY jurisdiction, nor has it ever been successfully used. Gay advances, or any unwanted advances, have been subsumed under the limited and mitigating defence of provocation: Green v R.

  20. Nameo Obum 1 Jan 2012, 3:24am

    I wonder if this Catholic Priest realises how the homosexual community hate the Roman Catholic Church? If he doesn’t know, then let him google Peter Tatchell.

    1. So we have some people who stereotype people of religion, and now we get a troll stereotyping gay people … sheesh …

      Ignore the troll!

  21. Jock S. Trap 2 Jan 2012, 2:14pm

    Good that this issue is beig raised and lets hope it succeeds as ‘Gay panic defence’ hold no rights or excuses in any law of the land. All it does is cheapen humanity and the weak within it.

  22. To my knowledge, the most influential Jesuit priest ever to have stood up for gays is John McNeill, Jesuit:

    His 3 books are a must read for any gay Catholic.

    Also, John, in his 80’s now and who lives with partner in Florida, is the founder of Dignity USA.

    Of course he has been relived of his priestly duties by the Vatican, but he continues to help countless thousands of gay Catholics through therapy.

    I expect Fr. Kelly will be reminded to avoid promoting gay rights by Sydney’s George Cardinal Pell, known for his censorship of any attempt to modernize Catholicism.

    Worse case scenario if he refuses to be silenced, Kelly will be looking for a job soon.

    Still, I can appreciate Kelly’s intentions, and I hope some good comes out of it.

  23. Leinster Road Dissident 4 Jan 2012, 10:01am

    Gay men who make advances towards straight men get what they deserve. Especially when these sexual predators try and sexually exploit young psychiatrically and mentally disabled young men. Might teach you to keep your cock in your pants.

  24. Once in a while a good Priest comes around, risks his career and possibly a resultant excommunication by the Vatican – to say the right thing.

    the catholic people are not the enemy. Lots of Priests are not the enemy

    The enemy is the Vatican, run by a man who in 2009, true to his german heritage, UNexcommunciated aBishop Williamson, a HOlocaust denier/ minimizer.

    The same man who told Africans to not use condoms and that condoms causes AIDS.

    In a contintent with 22 million cases of AIDs and babies born with it and suffereing a short an miserable existance.

    The same Vatican that in the USA – Ohion, told parishoners to not contribute to the Komen cancer research fund re breast cancer, because stem cells might be used.

    Based on that logic that stem cells are more important then REAL human life, we should abandon all our armies.

    Why should we send some real people to die, to protect others.

    “Protecting life” is just a smokescreen for many of the crimes of the vatican.

    1. I tend to agree with you stevemd2

      This is a good example of a Catholic (and a priest) standing up to the hypocracy of the Vatican and shouting out for human rights

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