On Wednesday, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting the “gay panic” defense, which allows alleged murderers to defend their actions in court by arguing that their victim’s sexual orientation “triggered” their crime. The bill also bars the “trans panic” defense, which alleged murderers may use to justify the killing of a trans person on the grounds that they were triggered by their victim’s gender identity.
Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate . He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.
Shortly after the Illinois bill passed, I spoke to Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law (and a Slate contributor ) who drafted the bill, SB 1761, and provided testimony to the General Assembly.
“This historic vote is an important advancement for LGBTQ civil rights,” Kreis told me. “It sends a clear message at a time when LGBTQ people are disproportionately targeted as victims of violent crimes that no person's sexual identity is a valid reason to inflict harm. SB 1761 reaffirms the law’s commitment in Illinois to guarantee equal citizenship for LGBT persons and to safeguard all LGBTQ persons’ dignity.”
Mike Ziri, the director of public policy at Equality Illinois which played a crucial role in the passage of SB 1761 told me on Thursday that he sees broad “bipartisan support in Illinois for LGBTQ civil rights.”
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