New York finally banned gay and trans 'panic defenses' in murder. Sadly, many states still allow it
Happy Pride Month! Did you know that in many states, people can still use a victim’s sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity as a “defense” in criminal cases, including murder? Yikes. This is known as the “gay panic” (or “trans panic,” or so on) defense. And New York state has finally passed legislation that will change that.
The state’s lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that bans this sort of disgusting defense. California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, and Nevada also have these bans. So while it’s great that New York has followed suit, the list is a scary-short reminder that much of the country needs to catch up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted about New York’s step in the right direction:
The ban on the ‘gay and trans panic’ legal defense just passed!With the enactment of this measure we are sending this noxious legal defense strategy to the dustbin of history where it belongs.This is an important win for LGBTQ people everywhere. pic.twitter.com/xMpXZfvnDT
Ã¢Â€Â” Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 19, 2019
Lest you think this is archaic, and that the ban is a formality more than anything practical, let’s review some recent history.