Justice takes step backward

If the Gay/Lesbian Union needs some more material to root out homophobia to use for Gay Awareness Week, they don’t have to look any further than nearby Rockford.

Late last week, a jury found Johnny Magnum guilty of second degree murder, although he had been brought up on first degree murder. Johnny Magnum was on trial for beating a man named Randy to death.

If Randy had been heterosexual, Johnny Magnum would be facing a long time in prison. First degree murder is a pretty serious charge. But Randy was gay, something that prompted the jury to reduce Magnum’s sentence to second degree murder.

Talk about warped thinking. Apparently, Magnum attacked Randy after Randy tried to put the moves on him.

Juror Marshall Butchart, who made no attempt to hide the fact that Randy’s homosexuality swayed the jury, said Johnny “was justified in bonking” him a few times. “I think anyone of his sexual persuasion invites a certain amount of grief,” Butchart said.

How can these jurors sleep at night?

This decision, and the defense of it, is as sickening as it is unbelievable. Without question, the jury is saying that someone who is homosexual is less of a person than someone who is not. There is no worse message to send to the gay community or the heterosexual community.

When will people wake up and realize that everyone is equal, regardless of race, class, creed or sexual orientation? Legal decisions like this fatally turn back the clock on justice and human rights, not to mention painting a bad image of Rockford.

The sooner this verdict is reversed, the better. The members of the jury are going to have to get some sleep some time—and justice won’t rest until they do.