New York set to pass legislation to ban the ‘gay panic’ defense in murder cases – after defendants argued their crimes against LGBTQ people were prompted by their victim’s sexuality
- On Thursday, the New York state legislature passed a proposal to ban the ‘gay and trans panic’ defense in murder cases
- It is the sixth state in the US to outlaw the legal tactic
- Governor Cuomo celebrated the ban in a Twitter post describing it as ‘an important win for LGBTQ people everywhere’
- It comes as New York gears up to celebrate its largest-ever Pride Parade on June 29
Published: 19:04 EDT, 20 June 2019 | Updated: 21:35 EDT, 20 June 2019
New York is set to become the sixth state to outlaw the ‘gay and trans panic’ defense in murder cases.
The state legislature passed a proposal on the ban on Thursday, following in the footsteps of Illinois, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Nevada.
The ‘gay and trans panic’ defense is a legal strategy which has been deployed in court rooms across the US for decades.
Under such a defense, the perpetrator of a crime against an LGBTQ person can argue that they acted out of extreme emotional distress after learning about their victim’s sexual or gender identity.
The defense is often used to ‘mitigate a case of murder down to manslaughter or to justify a homicide’, according to LGBTQ Bar.
On Thursday, the New York state legislature passed a proposal to ban the ‘gay and trans panic’ defense in murder cases
Thursday’s proposed ban of the ‘gay and trans panic’ defense was celebrated by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Taking to Twitter, Cuomo described it as ‘an important win for LGBTQ people everywhere’.
‘With the enactment of this measure we are sending this noxious legal defense strategy to the dustbin of history where it belongs,’ he wrote.
The legislation comes during Pride Month, and less than two weeks out from the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots – the clash between police officers and gay bar patrons that set off the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
On June 29, the city is set to celebrate its largest ever Pride Parade.
Meanwhile, ‘gay and trans panic’ defenses have been used in New York murder cases for decades.
The defense was most famously deployed during the high-profile trial of James Dixon, a New York man who fatally attacked trans woman Islan Nettles in 2013.
Dixon’s lawyers claimed their client was flirting with Nettles before he flew into a rage when he learned about her trans identity.
Dixon was reportedly embarrassed and mocked by friends for flirting with a person who was born a man.
He was eventually found guilty of manslaughter – a charge Nettles’ family claims is not adequate enough.
Governor Cuomo celebrated the ban in a Twitter post describing it as ‘an important win for LGBTQ people everywhere’