CommunityPam's House Blend

NY Bill would ban 'Gay Panic' defense

“We don’t see women shooting men ever time a man comes on to them in a bar and touches them on the arm. I don’t buy it. That’s like saying, ‘Road rage made me do it.'”
— Bronx Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr., on why his bill is necessary

Even though the use of gay panic fails miserably most of the time, it’s still lobbed out there. Diaz’s bill would require judges “to disregard appeals to bias and prejudice through courtroom tactics such as ‘panic strategies.'” (Gay City News):

The bill, similar to one that passed the California Assembly, was introduced at the prompting of Tom Smith, former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, after it was reported that a 16-year old arrestee in the attack on Kevin Aviance last week alleged to a TV news station that he acted after the drag singer made an inappropriate advance to him, comments that could be laying the groundwork for a so-called “gay panic” defense.

…”Sounds like a dangerous undertaking,” civil libertarian Bill Dobbs, an out gay man, said. “The ability to present evidence and defend oneself against criminal charges is critical to a free society and efforts to erode that fundamental constitutional right should be turned back. If somebody’s conduct was the product of an impulsive act, that evidence needs to go in.”

Aviance suffered severe injuries, his leg required a brace and he had a broken jaw that had to be wired shut.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding