DC Considers Banning ‘Gay Panic' Defense

The D.C. Council is considering legislation that would bar people charged with violent offenses from claiming they acted in self-defense after learning the victim was gay or transgender. 

Mendelson introduced the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2019 this week, WTOP reported. "It is unacceptable for bigots to claim panic as a defense, as if the victim was at fault for the bias-related crime," Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said, according to WTOP.

The bill would prohibit defendants from claiming they acted in the "heat of passion" or suffered reduced mental capacity upon learning about a person's actual or perceived sexuality or gender identity.

Mendelson was involved in helping the District legalize same-sex marriage.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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