The state of New York has finally banned the use of “gay panic” as a defence for murdering gay and transgender people, reports The New York Times.
“Gay panic” has been an historic defence where people have justified murdering LGBT+ people because finding out about their sexual orientation or gender identity cause them to go temporarily insane.
The defence was most famously used to justify the horrific murder of Matthew Shepard.
Gay democrats Daniel J O’Donnell and Brad Hoylman introduced a bill to ban the defence last week.
“I’m glad that New York is sending a message to prosecutors, to defence attorneys, juries and judges that a victim’s LGBTQ identity can’t be weaponised,” Hoylman said.
“I don’t think we can leave it to judges and juries given the record of homophobia that we’ve seen in courtrooms,” he continued. “We’re acting prudently to codify values of tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQ people.”