Thursday, June 1, 2017

Only 48 States, Territories, etc. To Go Before Someone Can't Murder An LGBT Person And Claim They're Innocent Because Of The Victim's Identity

In 48 states, it is still legal for someone to murder someone if they claim that a person being LGBT was their motive in murdering them.  And that's a legal defense.

On Wednesday, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting the “gay panic” defense, which allows alleged murderers to defend their actions in court by arguing that their victim’s sexual orientation “triggered” their crime. The bill also bars the “trans panic” defense, which alleged murderers may use to justify the killing of a trans person on the grounds that they were triggered by their victim’s gender identity.

The state Senate already passed the measure unanimously; it now goes to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is expected to sign the bill. Once he does, Illinois will become the second state in the country to ban the gay and trans panic defense. Only California currently outlaws the tactic, although the American Bar Association called for its abolition in 2013....

Mike Ziri, the director of public policy at Equality Illinois—which played a crucial role in the passage of SB 1761—told me on Thursday that he sees broad “bipartisan support in Illinois for LGBTQ civil rights.”...

“At a time when one-fifth of hate crimes reported to the FBI are because of the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity,” he told me, “we were determined to ensure that stigma does not carry over into the courtroom” in Illinois.

Illinois will become the second state in the country to ban the gay and trans panic defense.

Six years ago, this month, I was involved in a huge, battle in which I was attacked on Salon, by name, by a professional, national journalist, based on blatant misreporting by another professional journalist - that's an identity based on where they get published for pay, not on the quality of their journalism -  which was based, to a large extent on issues involving and surrounding the "gay panic" defense and accusation made against gay men on the basis of the widespread stereotype of us as predators.  One of the things I recall claimed by a number of people was that such a thing didn't happen any longer, though the comment threads involved are not available, anymore.  If they were, I would quote what was said on them, including by one of the journalists who didn't tell me she was publishing stuff about me even as we were talking through comments.  The one at Salon obviously hadn't read what I said on the issue.

Obviously it's still a thing, murderers being able to claim, in court, a defense based on the sexual identity of the person they murdered.  Obviously there isn't any great hurry to get rid of it.  As I noted in the things I wrote which were attacked, there were law papers being published advocating that the possibility of such a defense be retained.  I'll have to dig out my notes, if I can remember where I put them, but I wouldn't be surprised if that kind of thinking can still get a social scientist or lawyer published.

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