Via press release:
The National LGBT Bar Association applauds the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section for taking up a resolution to protect victims of so called gay and trans “panic” legal defenses. The resolution supports the LGBT community by no longer allowing defense attorneys to use victims’ identities or their sexual orientation against them in court.
“This resolution puts an end to a longstanding injustice in our legal system and gives a voice to countless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of violence, one we never hear because they are no longer here to speak for themselves,” said D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the LGBT Bar.
Gay and trans “panic” defense tactics ask a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s excessively violent reaction. The perpetrator claims that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explain – but excuse – their loss of self-control and subsequent assault of an LGBT individual. By fully or partially acquitting the perpetrators of crimes against LGBT victims, these defenses imply that LGBT lives are worth less than others.
The American Bar Association’s House Of Delegates must approve the resolution at their annual meeting in August in order for it to become official ABA policy.