Democrat to propose 'gay panic defense' ban in Fla.; Ill. was second to ban practice

Thu. September 30, 2021 1:50 PM by Gerald Farinas

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photo credit // unsplash todd kent

Illinois banned the argument from use in criminal court effective 2018

A member of the Florida House of Representatives proposes to ban "gay panic" or "trans panic" to excuse crimes against LGBTQ persons. The bill will be introduced in the new legislative session that opens in January.

Fla. state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said in a statement, "As a survivor of hate violence, I understand how gay or trans panic defense can be used as a legal strategy to justify or excuse violence against the LGBTQ community."

Smith, the main sponsor of the bill, was a victim of gay bashing as a student at University of Central Florida.

"The continued use of panic defense in legal proceedings perpetuates anti-LGBTQ bias and shifts blame onto the victims of violent crimes rather than their perpetrators," Smith said. "Which is why Florida must follow the lead of several states who passed laws prohibiting its use in court."

Illinois became the second state to ban the gay and trans panic defense on New Year's Day 2018. California was the first state to ban it in 2014.

The American Bar Association is calling for the practice to end in all states.