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New Hampshire House votes to ban gay and trans panic defenses

New Hampshire is finally joining numerous other U.S. states by taking steps to get rid of the horrible gay or trans panic defense!

The gay or trans panic defense allows people who are accused of murder to use the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a defense for their crime. This defense literally gives people who have committed murder and hate crimes the right to legitimately say, “I thought the person was gay/trans and I freaked out!” 

Steps To Ban the Defense

According to the Associated Press, New Hampshire’s House voted 223-118 last Thursday to outlaw this absurd gay and trans panic defense. Those who support the ban say that the defense is used in other states to excuse LGBTQ hate crimes. Opponents don’t think a ban is necessary in the state of New Hampshire. They also question the banning of any type of defense. 

The bill to ban the gay panic defense won the New Hampshire House. It will now be passed on to the state’s Senate for a vote, according to The Advocate

Gay and Trans Panic Defenses Used to Excuse Murder

Criminal justice professor Carsten Andresen from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas recently discussed gay and trans panic defenses with The Appeal, stating that these defenses are used to argue provocation. 

“I describe it like carbon monoxide,” Andresen said. “There’s a hazardous byproduct of putting out all these toxic ideas about gay people and other LGBTQ+ people — this idea that they’re predatory. It’s ridiculous.”

Andresen has discovered, through his research, that gay and trans panic defenses have been used in over 200 trials in America in the last 50 years. This includes the trial of Matthew Shepard’s killers, even though they were eventually convicted. This isn’t always the case, however. 

In 104 cases that Andresen examined, murder charges were reduced for people using the defense 33 % of the time. These reduced charges equal shorter prison sentences and, in some cases, acquittals.

It’s clear that the gay and trans panic defense exists to give those who hate LGBTQ people the right to murder us and get away with it. Let’s hope New Hampshire, and every other state after that, does the right thing and gets rid of this horrible defense.

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