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American Bar Association Calls For Laws To Limit Gay And Trans Panic Defenses

The American Bar Association has passed a resolution calling on states to pass laws curtailing the use of “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in criminal cases.

At its annual meeting, the ABA’s House of Delegates unanimously passed the measure, which describes the panic defenses as efforts “to partially or completely excuse crimes such as murder and assault on the grounds that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction.”

The resolution puts the ABA on record for ending the panic defenses. Defendants in such high-profile cases as the murders of Matthew Shepard and Gwen Araujo have used  the defenses as a kind of justification for their violence.

The resolution says that the laws should  specify “that neither a non-violent sexual advance, nor the discovery of a person’s sex or gender identity” can be used as an excuse for a physical attack. The laws should also require courts to instruct juries not to let any bias influence their deliberations.

Speaking to the House of Delegates, D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the National LGBT Bar Association, described the defenses as “surprisingly long-lived historical artifacts” that represent “the notion that LGBT lives are worth less than other lives.”

By:          John Galalgher
On:           Aug 14, 2013
Tagged: , , , , , ,
    • Charli Girl

      LIMIT? Really? If I shouted str8 panic as a defense,I’d be in court EVERY FREAKING DAY!!!
      P I S S E D!!!

      Aug 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • qlm

      @Charli Girl: Did you read the article? Or do you believe that the “Gay Panic” excuse is ok?

      Aug 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cyn

      It’s about time, because it’s a blatant case of discrimination for equal protection under the law.

      I’m female. Don’t run into lesbian panic too often. However, most women are familiar with being touched by an uninvited male in a sexually possessive fashion against their will. It is illegal for me to commit assault or kill him for his unwanted attentions. Not that many straight men would call the police on a woman who say, slams her elbow into his solar plexus, making him gasp for breath for several minutes in the middle of a bar, or say drives her stiletto into his instep, making him scream and hop around at a Christmas party, or say, bend his pinky finger back till it made a very satisfying snap and stayed that way on a theater parking lot as the bus was disembarking. And no one called the cops. And both cases are quite clearly assault, for which women often receive much stiffer sentences than men do, even when being sexually harassed. Beating a guy up for touching your boob or your ass or even your crotch is against the law.

      My point is, gay men are not out trolling for straight men, but accidents do happen. A polite no should be plenty for anyone. Don’t take no for an answer, oh well, but I do believe that’s rare for whatever gender identification.

      So Charli Girl, you are actually right, if overstating the every day a bit.

      Aug 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt

      The underlying idea is that the victim’s being gay/trans excuses any violence done against him/her. It’s completely absurd, and it’s amazing courts have put up with it this long.

      Aug 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • samuel1chandel

      my roomate’s sister-in-law makes $78/hour on the computer. She has been fired for eight months but last month her payment was $21746 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more http://www.work25.?om

      Aug 15, 2013 at 6:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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