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American Bar Association votes against gay and trans panic defenses

America’s peak body representing legal professionals has approved a resolution against the use of so-called homosexual or transgender provocation defenses at its annual meeting.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

17th August 2013 02:22

Alessia Valenza | ILGA North America

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates has voted to approve a resolution against the use of so-called homosexual provocation or transgender provocation defenses in criminal trials – also known as the gay-panic defense.

Resolution 113A, approved by the ABA on Monday at its Annual Meeting, states that the ABA ‘urges federal, state, local and territorial governments to take legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, which seek to partially or completely excuse crimes such as murder and assault on the grounds that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction.’

‘Such legislative action should include requiring courts in any criminal trial or proceeding, upon the request of a party, to instruct the jury not to let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence its decision about the victims, witnesses, or defendants based upon sexual orientation or gender identity; and specifying that neither a non-violent sexual advance, nor the discovery of a person’s sex or gender identity, constitutes legally adequate provocation to mitigate the crime of murder to manslaughter, or to mitigate the severity of any non-capital crime.’

The resolution was developed by America’s National LGBT Bar Association and had already been approved by the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section.