Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey and
Representative Joe Kennedy, both Democrats, have introduced a bill
that seeks to end the use of so-called “gay panic” and “trans
panic” defenses in federal court.
The Gay & Trans Panic Defense
Prohibition Act is also sponsored by Connecticut Senator Richard
Blumenthal and Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline, both
A defendant using the “gay” or
“trans” panic defense claims that he or she acted in a state of
temporarily insanity which was triggered by the revelation of a
victim's sexual orientation or gender identity, either actual or
Kennedy, an outspoken advocate for LGBT
rights, told the Washington Blade that committing an act of
violence against a person after discovering they're LGBT is a “hate
crime,” not a defense.
“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,” he said.
“Gay and trans panic legal defenses
reflect an irrational fear and bigotry toward the LGBTQ community and
corrode the legitimacy of federal prosecutions," Markey
said. "These defenses must be prohibited to ensure that all
Americans are treated with dignity and humanity in our justice
Using “gay panic” as a defense is
currently banned in California, Rhode Island and Illinois.
man avoids murder charge with “gay panic” defense.)