Summary: People who assault LGBT people often suggest that surprise realization of the victim’s LGBT status was to blame for the defendant’s “panicked” violent reaction. The LGBT Panic Defense Prohibition Act prevents that legal tactic during a criminal trial.
Legislation based on Vermont HB 128 (2021)
Findings based on The National LGBT Bar Association
Such legislation has so far been enacted in 13 states: CA, CO, CT, HI, IL, ME, NV, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT and WA
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “LGBT Panic Defense Prohibition Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature/council finds that:
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to protect the health, safety and civil rights of those who are, or perceived to be, LGBT people.
SECTION 3. DEFENSE BASED ON VICTIM’S IDENTITY PROHIBITED
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
In a prosecution or sentencing for any criminal offense, the following shall not be used as a defense to the defendant’s criminal conduct, to establish a finding that the defendant suffered from diminished capacity, to justify the defendant’s use of force against another, or to otherwise mitigate the severity of the offense:
1) Evidence of the defendant’s discovery of, knowledge about, or the potential disclosure of the crime victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, including under circumstances in which the victim made a nonforcible, noncriminal romantic or sexual advance toward the defendant; or
2) Evidence of the defendant’s perception or belief, even if inaccurate, of the gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation of a crime victim.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on July 1, 202X.