California Proposes Ban On ‘Gay Panic’ Defense In Murder Cases

AB2501 passed the California State Assembly on Wednesday and now will be heading to the California State Senate. If approved, the bill will amend Section 192 of the Penal Code, relating to manslaughter and states:

King[…]for purposes of determining sudden quarrel or heat of passion, the provocation was not objectively reasonable if it resulted from the discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the victim’s or defendant’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, including under circumstances in which the victim made an unwanted nonforcible romantic or sexual advance towards the defendant, or if the defendant and victim dated or had a romantic or sexual relationship.

In other words, it would eliminate the "gay panic" defense that's trotted out in the murders of gay people and especially MTF transsexuals. The line of reasoning goes that a man becomes so distressed by being hit on by another man that he loses the ability to control his actions and thus can't be held accountable when he (usually brutally) murders the offender. Absurd as it is – it's really just a contemporary "Twinkie Defense" – it remains surprisingly effective. Fingers crossed that the bill passes the Senate and becomes law.


  1. Derrick from Philly says

    When I look at the photographs above I see vulnerabitlty in Lawrence King’ eyes, and I see evil in Brandon McInerney’s eyes. Of course, I’m going to side with the Gay/Transgender child–of course, I AM.

    Dammit, I was Lawrence King as a child!!!1

    Now, it may not be all Brandon McInerney’s fault that he turned out to be a cold-blooded murderer, but HE DID. His father abused him, but that’s no excuse.

    Young Lawrence King was just trying to figure out where he fit into this world. But he was killed for it.

  2. Donks says

    Does anyone know what happened with the Aaron Hall murder linked in this article? I tried googling but I could only find articles about the accused intent on using ‘gay panic’ as an excuse. Does anyone know if it worked?

  3. Deth says

    “a man becomes so distressed by another [gay] man that he loses the ability to control his actions and thus can’t be held accountable when he (usually brutally) murders the ‘offender’.” – And this is why if any man attacks me, I’m not going to stop defending myself until my attacker is dead. Because that’s exactly what he would do to me if he had his way. And provided I got caught, I would use the ‘gay panic defense’ as a reason why I had to use lethal force to defend myself. Because straight men can’t control themselves and can’t prevent themselves from going on a murderous rampage, I am left with no other recourse than to kill the rabid beast.

  4. pete n sfo says

    It’s absurd that this law is needed, and regretfully long overdue.

    Imagine a world where women killed other women for making an advance? Pretty difficult isn’t it? Some straight guys are so unbelievably lame.

  5. Enchantra says

    I don’t see the functionality of such a law. Our legitimate goal in the courts has been to get people who attack gay people charged with the appropriate crime, not more not less. The defendant can claim that space aliens made him do it for all I care, if a jury would buy that then that’s what is messed up. I also don’t believe in the rape-shield laws. A defendant has the right to face his accuser. If you are going to accuse someone of a crime that can cost him the rest of his life, then you need to be ready to stand up in court for yourself.

    Do not ban a defense. Empower citizens to demand that criminals be charged with the crimes they have committed. If they somehow manage to go free, then the problem is bigger than this law would address.

  6. simon says

    With this law, the defendants can still use any excuse and the jury can still buy anything. But it is also the duty of the judge to guide the jury to discount “gay panic” as a legitimate defense and many other excuses like space aliens if they ever come up.

  7. Dee says

    Brandon McInerny was not a man…he was a boy. He was taunted and tormented by Larry King and had already suffered a horrible childhood. For a straight boy at this age to be targeted relentlessly by a gay boy is sexual harassment and should have been treated as such by the idiots running their school. They are the ones who should be in jail and Brandon should be getting help.