California Bans "Gay Panic Defense"
Current California law lets a murder charge be reduced to manslaughter if the killing happened in the heat of passion - the so-called "gay panic defense". Haters charged with murdering members of the LGBT community have been able to claim they acted in a "moment of passion" when they learned the victim was gay, and therefor their crime met the requirements for a reduced charge of manslaughter. The bill that passed the Assembly this week will bar defendants from using their victim's gender or sexual orientation to support a panic defense. An identical bill passed the state senate in May so as soon as Gov. Brown signs it, it's a done deal.
The American Bar Association has called for curtailing the use of the "gay panic" defense for some time. California is the first state to ban using the "heat of passion" defense because the victim was LGBT.