Blade: Bill to ban ‘gay panic’ defense nationally submitted


WASHINGTON — The Washington Blade reported on Friday that a bill that would ban the “gay panic” defense nationally has been submitted in the U.S. House and Senate.

The “gay panic” defense, per Wikipedia, is a legal defense, usually against charges of assault or murder, where the defendent claims they acted in a state of violent temporary insanity because of unwanted advances.

Illinois banned the defense in 2017. It was only the second state to ban it after California.

From the Blade:

The bill, introduced by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) in the U.S. House and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) in the U.S. Senate, is called the Gay & Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act and would ban the use of anti-LGBT panic defense from being cited as a legal defense in federal court.

In a statement to the Washington Blade — which has learned exclusively about the legislation — Kennedy said an admission of committing a violent crime against someone because they’re LGBT “is not a defense, it is a hate crime.”

“Legal loopholes written into our laws that seek to justify violent attacks against our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender neighbors should never have existed in the first place,” Kennedy said.

Markey said in a statement to the Blade a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity “cannot ever excuse violence, and our courtrooms should not be used as chambers of hate.”