Gay/trans panic defense ban introduced in Congress
WASHINGTON — The Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2019 was filed this week in the U.S. Congress.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation said in a statement that the bill was introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) in the Senate and House.
Gay panic was actually used as a defense by the men convicted of killing Matthew Shepard in 1998.
Only four states ban gay/trans panic as a defense: California, Illinois, Nevada and Rhode Island. Illinois banned it in 2017.
If passed, the bills will prohibit the justification or mitigation of a violent offense based on the gender, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation of a victim. The bills also contain requirements that the Attorney General submit a report annually to Congress, detailing prosecutions in federal court involving crimes committed against the LGBTQ community that were motivated by these factors.