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‘Gay panic defence’ banned

Published:Sunday | June 23, 2019 | 12:00 AM

HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP):

Connecticut’s governor signed legislation Friday banning use of the so-called ‘gay or trans panic’ defence in criminal cases.

The defence is a controversial legal strategy that seeks to use a victim’s sexual orientation or identity as justification for a violent crime. Democratic Governor Ned Lamont said that implies the life of a gay or transgender person is valued less than others and Connecticut won’t allow homophobia and transphobia to justify violent crime.

Neighbouring Rhode Island banned the defence last year.

Massachusetts congressmen are trying to ban it in federal court. Democratic Senator Edward Markey and Representative Joe Kennedy reintroduced a bill this month to curtail the availability and effectiveness of the gay and trans panic defences, a step many in the legal community have been urging for years.