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.