‘Gay panic’ defense to be scrapped Down Under
An Australian state is to scrap its controversial ‘gay panic’ defense by the end of the year, it has been announced.
The Queensland Government has said it wants to end the practice that allows accused murderers to receive a reduction in their sentence by claiming there were unwanted sexual advances.
Currently, if the defense is accepted, it reduces a murder charge to manslaughter.
Queensland’s Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath tabled a petition on the defense today (October 4).
“I anticipate introducing the amendment to section 304 of the Criminal Code into the Legislative Assembly later this year,” she said in a statement.
“Both past and present Queensland Labor governments have demonstrated significant commitment to addressing the issue of the use of an unwanted sexual advance establishing a partial defense to murder.”
The Opposition leader Tim Nicholls signaled he would support the change in the law, by saying his party would look “very favourably” on such an amendment.
LGBT rights are still a hot topic in Australia with the issue of same-sex marriage dominating current debate.
Recently, a poll found that most Australians want equal marriage to be legalised quickly through parliament, rather than holding a costly plebiscite.
Though with the current deadlock on the issue, the country’s Attorney General threatened to have the vote delayed by up to five years if public vote wasn’t held.