California is set to become the first state to ban a "gay panic" defense for violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims.
A bill is waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown's signature that would prohibit a defense designed to downgrade a murder charge by arguing the violence was triggered by the revelation of a victim’s actual or perceived sexual identity, The Washington Post
The National LGBT Bar Association has been trying to minimize the use of the defense for a decade, executive director D’Arcy Kemnitz told The Post.
"But it’s going to be meaningful when we pass it in Wyoming where Matthew Shepard was murdered," too, she said, asserting the California law would be the nation’s first.
Shepard died Oct. 12, 1998, in Laramie, Wyo., after a brutal attack that focused national attention on hate crimes.
The California legislation in the state Assembly passed last week by a 58-to-15 vote; it was passed by the state Senate in vote of 25 to 9, The Post reported.
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