Showing posts with label Gay Panic Defense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Panic Defense. Show all posts

March 21, 2017

Australia Abolishes ‘Gay Panic Defense'

Lawmakers in Queensland, Australia, have passed legislation that removes a controversial "gay panic" defense from the state's criminal code. 
The code previously enabled the measure to be used as a partial defense to murder if an unwanted sexual advance had been made toward the accused. 
It was most famously used in 2008 when 45-year-old Wayne Ruks was killed by two men, Jason Pearce and Richard Meerdink, who claimed Ruks made advances at one of them. 
Murder charges were reduced to manslaughter as a result, despite Ruks' family disputing any notion that he was gay at the time.  Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath said removing the defense had addressed an unacceptable inequality. 
"Queensland's criminal code must not be seen to condone violence against the gay community, or indeed any community," D'Ath said in a statement released Tuesday. 
"The passing of this legislation sends an important message that discrimination is not acceptable and that we value the LBGTI community." 
Ruks was found dead in the churchyard of Father Paul Kelly, a Catholic priest who subsequently led a campaign to have the law changed. 
"After five years of relentlessly campaigning for the gay panic defense for murder to be scrapped from the legal books in Queensland, I can today breathe a sigh of relief and accomplishment," Kelly said. 
Kelly started a petition that racked up 290,000 signatures and told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in 2011 that the law was a “homophobic, demeaning, dangerous insult" to gay people. 
He added that it "allows killers to walk away with paltry sentences"  Wayne Ruks' mother, Joyce Kujala, said she had waited a long time for the change in the law. 
“It can't bring Wayne back, but it's some small justice, and it could save a lot of lives in future," Kujala said.

October 1, 2014

California Outlaws ‘Gay Panic' Defense

 8 yrs old killed by mom “gay panic’ she thought he was gay

[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] on Saturday signed into law a bill [AB 2501 text], prohibiting the so-called "gay panic" defense that has been used to reduce homicide charges to manslaughter. The defense has been used by defendants who claimed that they were "panicked" into committing a crime due to a homosexual individual making an advance on them. Recently the defense has even been used in cases involving transgender individuals. The bill, which will make California the first state to outright ban the defense, was passed by the California State Assembly [official website] by a vote of 50-10. The bill was sponsored by assemblywoman Susan Bonilla [official website], who says that these types of legal defenses make violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people appear to garner a less severe punishment.
California has been at the forefront of legislation regarding LGBT rights. In July Brown signed into law [JURIST report] a bill that will change the language in California's marriage code to accommodate same-sex couples. Last August the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld California's law [JURIST report] prohibiting licensed therapists from counseling minors with the intent to convert their sexual orientation from gay to straight. Also in August the Supreme Court of California ended the last legal challenge [JURIST report] to same-sex marriage in the state by refusing to revive Proposition 8, the state's now-defunct law banning same-sex marriage. The previous month, San Diego County petitioned [JURIST report] California’s supreme court seeking to require certain county clerks to enforce Prop 8, arguing that the US Supreme Court's June 2013decision [JURIST report] upholding the repeal of Prop 8 only applied to two of the state's 58 counties. 

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