Catholic Priest Fights For Sanctity Of LGBT Life

PaulKellyPaul Kelly is a Catholic priest in Queensland, Australia. Though he hasn't made his views on the subject known, it's safe to assume that he doesn't believe in marriage equality. (If he does, he's not a very good priest.) But he's a defender of LGBT people anyway.

In July, 2008, a man was murdered on the grounds of Fr. Kelly's church in Maryborough. Once apprehended, the attacker defended his actions by citing "gay panic" — that is, by claiming he committed murder because he was driven to panic by his victim's homosexual advances. Apparently, this defense is a viable one according to Queensland law, and by using it the murderer hoped to have his crime downgraded to manslaughter. It didn't work. Still, Fr. Kelly was aghast.

From Lezgetreal:

Kelly stated that “It’s extremely upsetting and worrying, I was following the trial with great interest and then there was this talk that he (the victim) had made some sort of homosexual advance. I never heard of something so terrible, that there is some kind of defense that says if you make a homosexual advance then that can be used in court. I just can’t believe in this day and age that can be any kind of defense to hurting someone.”

The Brisbane Times noted that “Father Kelly has now launched an online petition to lobby the state government to have the law changed. The petition was launched last week and after enough signatures are garnered Father Kelly plans to take it to the Premier and LNP leader Campbell Newman.”

… Father Kelly told the newspaper that “By mentioning (homosexuality) might be a factor, it seems to increase the tolerance that violence has been used. I find that pretty astounding.” He also hopes that no one will find it odd that a Catholic priest was campaigning to change this law saying “The church has always defended basic human rights, it’s never said intolerance or violence should be tolerated. It’s a powerful mix of paranoia and intolerance that means people can get their charge downgraded to manslaughter if there was a homosexual advance. It’s not about gay rights, it’s about human rights.”

Good on Fr. Kelly. It would be a much better world if more clerics paid more than lip service to the notion that the sanctity of LGBT life trumps religious objections to LGBT lifestyles.


  1. Craig says

    Don’t be too surprised. There are tons of gay priests within all denominations and an awful lot of gay friendly priests, too. I’ve definitely learned that just because their denomination may have a position, it doesn’t mean the priests do, and it most certainly doesn’t mean that the people in the pews share that view at all. There are a lot of gay friendly clergy and church goers in the RC faith. The ones that get completely frustrated with the official positions of their church eventually leave, often to my church, the Episcopal church. We have a BUNCH of former RC clergy and congregants.

  2. Chris says

    This is great, but should not be all that surprising. I am no longer Catholic, but the majority of priests that I’ve known would have said the same thing, or gone further… there are a lot of progressive priests who regularly toe this line, even from the altar, figuring out how much they can say or do without being removed from the priesthood by oppressive and ever-more right-leaning Vatican/diocesan hierarchies. Same goes double for nuns, who have been recently subjected to an inquisition from Rome…

  3. jason says

    Australia is very homophobic in parts. You’d be better off doing a check on the internet before visiting certain places there.

  4. Robert in NYC says

    …”the sanctity of LGBT life trumps religious objections to LGBT lifestyles.”

    Since when are our lives “lifestyles” and when did we choose? Why is it heterosexuals’ lives are never referred to in this way? Oh I forgot, they don’t choose theirs as we’re purported to do. They’re just born that way I suppose.

  5. Steve Scarborough says

    Actually, all other things being equal, a priest who believes in marriage equality is a good priest, just not an obedient one. Fortunately the body of the Church has already begun, slowly, to wrest itself from a hierarchy that is compromised by hypocrisy and loony authoritarianism. In the process, the larger Church, including the many priests whose views of equality aren’t medieval, might actually restore some of the institution’s moral authority.

  6. says

    can we have “gay-panic panic?” You know, “i had to shoot him because i thought he was havin gay-panic since i’m gay and since he’s unhinged, and so i panicked and killed him before he got gay-panic and killed me?”

  7. MSPBI says

    So, can a woman use the ‘straight panic’ defense if a man hits on her and she kills him?

    Is that what some ‘straight’ guys are afraid of? That ‘gay’ guys will treat them like ‘straight’ guys treat women?

  8. says

    I resent your assertion that a priest who supports marriage equality is “not a very good priest.” Compared to what? You are guilty of making both an anti-Gay and an anti-Christian statement. It perpetuates the lie that Fundamentalists espouse the true gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior would have absolutely no problem with Gay and Straight people being treated equally. As a matter of fact, His teachings mandate it.

  9. says

    Stuffed Animal: Thanks for reading. I disagree with your assertion for this reason: By definition, a good priest in the Roman Catholic tradition is one who obeys the dicta of Rome. At the moment, the Vatican is against marriage equality. Ergo, only bad priests could be for marriage equality — though their being bad priests does not keep them from being extremely good people. – BKT

  10. Clint says

    A good priest, and a good Catholic above all else, follows his conscience. Personal points of view, shared as such, are allowed this. As a Roman cleric, he may not teach that this is an acceptable view, or address an organization that supports a position contrary to current Church teaching, but following his conscience above all else is an important, and unfairly neglected, aspect of Catholic teaching. See the writings of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman concerning the primacy of conscience.

    There is much that is indefensible about the Roman Church, but not this.

  11. says

    I like when members of the RCC break the ninth commandment, daily, in order to fulfill and promote what they deem to be “God’s Will”

    Dear God, we had to break your ninth commandment in order to make what we think are your points, for you.

    hope you don’t mind.

  12. Ken says

    Love the sinner, not the sin. Yes, all good Catholic priests defend the rights of gay people. But that doesn’t mean they support gay behavior. A person is not a behavior. They are two distinct things.

  13. says

    LGBT Youth aren’t killing themselves, and losing Hope in this life, because they don’t have “rights” – but because of the belief at the core of those who seek to deny LGBT people rights: bigotry. prejudice.

    “love the sinner but hate the sin” is actually the problem.

    the kids don’t commit suicide because they can’t marry in their state. the kids commit suicide because the people in their lives who are supposed to love them are still believing the warped bigotry of far too many organized religions.

    “you can be gay, you can just never “act” on it. you need to live a life without love, affection, and joy”

    that’s what gives kids no Hope.

  14. Acronym Jim says

    @Ken: “A person is not a behavior.”

    You’re right. A straight man or woman is not penile-vaginal penetration, penile-anal penetration, masturbation, cunnilingus, rimming, fellatio, dildo-vaginal penetration or dildo-anal penetration.

    A gay man is not penile-anal penetration, masturbation, rimming, fellatio or dildo-anal penetration.

    A lesbian is not vagina to vagina masturbation, masturbation, cunnilingus, rimming, dildo-vaginal penetration or dildo-anal penetration.

    What defines a person as gay, straight or bisexual is the gender of the individuals for whom they develop romantic attractions. So yes, a person can be completely celibate or sexually active and still be gay or straight. Why is that so hard for so many idiots to grasp?

  15. Blair Martin says

    @Jason: all countries are homophobic in parts. Even the most enlightened land of The Netherlands has had incidences of public homophobic slurs and potential violence. I resent your implication that LGBTQI people visiting my homeland need to carefully check the internet for warnings about where and where not to go DownUnder (yes, you can safely be gay outside of Sydney…)
    From what I daily read on Towleroad, I’d be seriously considering whether it is safe to visit the USA at all with the myriad of public figures calling for all forms of segregation, denial of civil rights, humiliation right through to imprisonment and death of LGBTQI people. Yet, I know that the majority of my community in the USA live happy, safe and productive lives and do their best in extending that privilege to others.

  16. George M says

    Good point Blair, many parts of the US are not gay friendly. Even here in CT you run in to it and we can get married here. I’d go to Australia in a red hot minute

  17. BobN says

    “By definition, a good priest in the Roman Catholic tradition is one who obeys the dicta of Rome.”

    “Dicta”? What a sloppy word to hide behind.

    There are things a priest CANNOT disagree with and there are things he can. Differences of opinion on marriage equality does not rise to the level of, say, dispute over transubstantiation. Not even for Benedict. The latter would be a deal-breaker. The former is not.

  18. Val says

    U have to belive that gay is wrong dispite some peopl find them safe in it. A good priest should condem it yes! If u hav a problm wit ur sexaul orentetion u check dat all