The Catholic priest spearheading a campaign to close Queensland’s “gay panic” legal loophole says he believes the state attorney-general has left the door open to a potential change in the Criminal Code.

Father Paul Kelly met with Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie (pictured) this afternoon to push his case for reform of the partial defence of provocation. More than 193,000 people have signed Kelly’s Change.org petition calling for the loophole to be closed.

Kelly said the Bleijie made it clear that he had not, contrary to media reports, made a final determination on the issue.

“While the attorney-general expressed serious reservations about many aspects of my call to reform this law, he made it clear to me that he had not made a final decision on the issue,” Kelly said in a statement this afternoon.

“He acknowledged there was a lot of community support for a change in the law and he invited me to continue to press my case.

“I got the impression he was leaving the door open for reform of this law, but that he was still, unfortunately, a long way from being convinced.”

Kelly said Bleijie and Premier Campbell Newman’s “repeated and misleading assertion” that the gay panic defence didn’t exist was confounding.

“The defence isn’t just theoretical – it has been brought up as the reason in two separate court cases in Queensland in the past few years. For Mr Newman and his attorney-general to deny that it exists is astounding,” he said.

Bleijie told ABC Radio in July that he was unlikely to implement changes to the defence, despite recommendations to do so earlier this year from a special committee set up to investigate its presence in the Criminal Code.

He said he didn’t think the recommendations were necessary.

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