New York Passes Law Against “Gay Panic” Defense

On the last day of Pride month, amid the parades and celebrations around the world, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an important piece of legislation into law. It was very much in relation to the reason for the festivities, as it strips away the legal defense of “gay or trans panic” to justify homophobia and transphobia. Cuomo stated that “the gay and trans panic defense is essentially a codification of homophobia and transphobia, and it is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion.”

In the past, this defense has been used in cases involving hate crimes towards people of the LGBT community to garner lighter sentences or no conviction at all. Many LGBT members and advocates view this as an important step in reaching equality in treatment, at least in the legal system.