Thursday, July 09, 2009

It's not murder if they're gay

In 2007, two men were drinking together. One allegedly made an unwanted sexual advance. The other beat him to death with a banjo and rammed the stump down his throat, killing him. Today, the second man was convicted - but of manslaughter, not murder. The message is clear: it's not murder if the victim is gay.

This is another victory for the provocation defence - and another reason why it must be repealed. The law as it stands gives cover to those committing anti-gay hate-crimes, allowing them to minimise their offending. It allows them to use the sexuality of their victim as a defence. "He came on to me" is apparently a justification for murder. If that standard - or its misogynistic equivalent, "the bitch tried to leave me" - applied to straight men, there'd be a lot less of them about.

This law rewards violent, brutal people who refuse to exercise self-control. It encourages lawyers to pander to the bigotry and misogyny of juries to essentially blame victims for their own deaths. It is, in short, a murderer's charter. And its long past time we got rid of it. It is time to ecrasez l'infame and repeal provocation.