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Gay/trans panic defense ban introduced in Congress

The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Image by MotionStudios from Pixabay)

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.

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