House votes to ban ‘gay or trans panic’ defense

May 23, 2018 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the “gay or trans panic” defense, a controversial legal strategy that seeks to use a victim’s sexual orientation or identity as justification for a violent crime.

The House voted to ban the legal defense Wednesday. It will now go to the Senate.

Rep. Kenneth Marshall introduced the bill. While the defense strategy has not been used in Rhode Island, lawyers in other states have argued crimes were caused by the shock of discovering or perceiving the victim’s sexual orientation or identity.

The Bristol Democrat says the ban is a common-sense measure necessary to ensure it is not used in Rhode Island in the future.

The American Bar Association supports the legislation. California and Illinois have banned the defense.