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Bill Seeks to End Use of So-Called 'Gay Panic' Defense

Sunday Jul 15, 2018

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy are pushing a bill that would end the use of so-called "gay panic" and "trans panic" defenses in federal court.

The defenses refer to the argument in court that the revelation of a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity provoked a violent reaction from a defendant that resulted in assault or murder.

The two Democrats said Friday the defense blames the victim for the violence committed against them.

They say the bill would curtail the availability and effectiveness of the gay and trans panic defenses, a step many in the legal community have been urging for years.

The bill is also sponsored in the Senate by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and in the House by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline.

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