Nevada the latest state to ban gay, trans panic defenses

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CARSON CITY — Nevada has become the fourth state to ban the gay and trans panic defenses.

Illinois is one of those four states. The others are California and Rhode Island.

NBC OUT reported that Senate Bill 97 signed into law on Tuesday. It prohibits defendants from using a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression as a defense in a criminal case.

Briana Escamilla, the Nevada state director for the Human Rights Campaign, told the website it was “long past time” for the law to pass.

“These ‘defenses’ send the destructive message that LGBTQ victims are less worthy of justice and their attackers justified in their violence,” Escamilla wrote in an email NBC OUT. “Every victim of violent crime and their families deserve equal justice, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The bill states that “‘gay panic’ and ‘trans panic’ defenses appeal to irrational fears and hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, thereby undermining the legitimacy of criminal prosecutions and resulting in unjustifiable acquittals or sentencing reductions.”

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