New York State Law Aims to Ban ‘Gay Panic’ Murder Defense

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The state of New York is moving a ban against "Gay panic" or "trans panic" defenses claiming that a charged defendant in a murder case may have acted in a temporary state of insanity in reaction to an encounter with a gay or transgender person. (Shutterstock photo)

CBS News – New York is set to become the sixth state to ban the so-called “gay panic” defense in murder cases, which defendants sometimes use to try to justify an attack on an LGBTQ victim. The state legislature passed the ban during Pride Month, and just days before the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, which sparked the gay rights movement.

“With the enactment of this measure we are sending this noxious legal defense strategy to the dustbin of history where it belongs,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign the legislation, said in a statement. “This is an important win for LGBTQ people everywhere.”

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“Gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses claim that an accused assailant may have acted in a temporary state of insanity in reaction to an encounter with a gay or transgender person. 

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