California outlaws ‘gay panic’ defenseAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, September 29th, 2014
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown, Saturday signed into law a bill [AB 2501 ], prohibiting the so-called “gay panic” defense that has been used to reduce homicide charges to manslaughter, reports Jurist.org. The defense has been used by defendants who claimed that they were “panicked” into committing a crime due to a homosexual individual making an advance on them. Recently the defense has even been used in cases involving transgender individuals.
The bill, which will make California the first state to outright ban the defense, was passed by the California State Assembly by a vote of 50-10. The bill was sponsored by assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, who says that these types of legal defenses make violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people appear to garner a less severe punishment.
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