The South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance (SARAA) was very proud to successfully lobby, together with other LGBTIQ+ advocates, to finally get rid of the outdated and cruel gay panic defence.
Used in South Australia as recently as in 2015, the defence allowed convictions for the murder of gay men to be reduced to manslaughter, simply if a heterosexual male killer says he was provoked by a gay man making a “pass” at him.
In October 2020 our joint petition with Equality Australia was signed by over 38,000 Australians calling for an end to the gay panic defence. 2 months later the South Australian parliament finally abolished this outdated law.
As part of our petition we also proposed an amendment to the Sentencing Act that would strengthen protections against hate crime for all marginalised South Australians. We look forward to Parliament debating this issue in 2021.
The abolition of gay panic comes after years of advocacy by the LGBTIQ+ community. You can read our 2015 submission to the South Australian Law Reform Institute’s (SALRI) Review of South Australian laws and regulations to identify discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status here.
Image: Kelly Vincent (Policy & Project Officer, middle) and Matthew Morris (Board Chair, right) deliver SARAA & Equality Australia's petition to Attorney-General Vickie Chapman (left) calling for the abolition of the gay panic defence.
Image: Kelly Vincent (Policy & Project Officer, right) delivers SARAA & Equality Australia's petition to Attorney-General Vickie Chapman (left) calling for the abolition of the gay panic defence.
We were proud to advocate, along with thousands of other Australians, for the right of LGBTIQ+ Australians to marry.
2 years on from the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, our Chair, Matthew Morris, reflects on the process toward marriage equality:
Image: Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (left), SARAA Board Chair Matthew Morris (middle) and ALP Senator Penny Wong (right) holding YES Equality signs.
Statement from SARAA's Chair Matthew Morris, 2 years after marriage equality
"Two years ago today, Australia said "YES".
While we on one hand celebrate this historic moment, it is also bittersweet.
This never needed to happen. It could have so easily been resolved by Parliament, but instead it caused so much pain to so many LGBTIQA+ Australians. And now we're staring down a Religious Discrimination Bill that threatens to unravel anti-discrimination legislation in this country in the name of "religious freedom".
The marriage equality postal survey was a wake-up call for me. It made me realise how much hate and bigotry there is in Australia. It lit a fire in me and pushed me to become an advocate for the LGBTIQA+ community.
Two years on, I'm proud to now be the chair of SARAA and to be advocating for the rights and wellbeing of our community alongside a group of amazing people both within SARAA and beyond. Some have been fighting the fight for decades, others are new to advocacy. All of us are passionate about safeguarding our community, though.
Together we will fight for the rights of our community both now and into the future, for while we might have marriage equality there is still so much more to be done!"
2018 state election scorecard
In the lead up to the 2018 South Australian State election SARAA examined the statements and commitments of the various SA political parties as well as looking at the issues raised within the LGBTIQ community. Read our summary of responses at SARAA’s LGBTIQ+ policy scorecard for the 2018 State Election.
In 2015 the South Australian government reformed our state’s laws to both:
allow person to have a sex or gender other than male or female recorded on the Register
establish a process for changing a person’s registered sex and/or gender.
SARAA is proud to have extensively engaged in this reform process, documented through the following submissions:
- Submission to the Legislative Review Committee with regard to the SA Sexual Reassignment Act 1988 - April 2015
- Submission to the SA Law Reform Institute roundtable consultation on Laws governing sexual reassignment and sex and/or gender regiassignment - October 2015
- Submission on the Statutes Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Bill 2015 - November 2015
- Joint submission in the Births, Deaths, Marriages Registrations (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill 2016 - March 2017