What is the LGBTQ+ “panic” defense? From the LGBTBar:
The LGBTQ+ “panic” defense strategy is a legal strategy that asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction, including murder. It is not a free-standing defense to criminal liability, but rather a legal tactic used to bolster other defenses. When a perpetrator uses an LGBTQ+ “panic” defense, they are claiming that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explains—but excuses—a loss of self-control and the subsequent assault. By fully or partially acquitting the perpetrators of crimes against LGBTQ+ victims, this defense implies that LGBTQ+ lives are worth less than others.
Virginia becomes the first state in the South to ban gay and trans panic as a defense.
(CNN)Approving a bill introduced by its only transgender lawmaker, Virginia became the first state in the South to ban "gay and trans panic" as a defense for murder or manslaughter.
Virginia is now the 12th state to ban the defense, which can allow people charged with the killing of LGBTQ people to receive a lesser sentence by "placing the blame for homicide on a victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity," according to the Williams Institute, UCLA Law's LGBTQ think tank.
Delegate Danica Roem introduced the bill in the Virginia House of Delegates earlier this year, and Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill last week. It goes into effect in July.
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