The leader of the Senate in Connecticut wants to get rid of the “gay and transgender panic” defense.
According to the CTPost, Martin Looney, the Senate President Pro Tempore has filed a bill to ban the “gay and transgender panic” defense from being used in criminal court.
This proposed bill would make it so that criminal defendants can’t claim to be justified in violently panicking after learning a person was gay or transgender.
“I think it is needed everywhere basically to make sure this is not a way for people to use bigotry as a defense for the commission of heinous crimes,” said Looney. “Theoretically, you could say that if this defense is allowed, someone could say they have a visceral hatred of a certain racial or ethnic group, and then that would excuse an act of violence against that group.”
The only state to officially ban the “gay panic” defense is California. The state officially banned the act back in 2014. In addition, a 2017 study from St. Francis Xavier University found that there was no biological basis for the “gay panic” defense.
"These men [who commit attacks] argue that it's out of their control and that it's something completely innate. It's likened to reverting to a natural fight-or-flight defense mode because they've seen something dangerous,” explained the researchers.
"There is no difference in the stress response based on attitudes. So it doesn't make sense to say that those people who are reacting violently are doing so because of some biological response."
As for Looney’s bill, it has to be looked over by the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee before moving on to the Senate floor.