Illinois officially banned ‘gay panic defence’

TOPSHOT - Mourners hold up signs during a vigil in Washington, DC on June 12, 2016, in reaction to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Fifty people died when a gunman allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Florida, in the worst terror attack on US soil since September 11, 2001. / AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

As of January 1 2018, Illinois has banned the defence which allowed defendants to excuse the crimes they have committed with sexuality or gender identity of their victims. It comes as the law banning the defence was signed off by Governor Bruce Rauner in August after the motion wasn’t opposed by any of the state Senators. The ‘gay panic’ defence often does not hold up in court , the attorneys’ attempts to use it were unlikely to succeed.Monica Harrell, a chairperson for Equal Rights Washington, explained: “It (the defence) is saying you’re surprised that somebody might be different than you, whatever that difference is, and that that would allow you to initiate violence, and in some cases, lethal violence. That should never be a defence.” D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the National LGBT Bar Association added that the panic defence was an “outdated relic reminiscent of a time when widespread antipathy was commonplace for LGBT individuals”.


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