Ending “Gay Panic” and “Trans Panic” Defenses in Maine
On May 13, 2019, GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto submitted testimony to the Maine Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety in support of LD 1632, An Act Regarding Criminal Procedure with Respect to Allowable Offenses – a bill that limits so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses.
All people, including LGBT people, do not cause or deserve to be attacked simply because of who they are. LGBT people engage in the same human behaviors that non-LGBT people commonly do, such as making romantic or sexual advances to another person, or engaging in dating, romantic or sexual relationships. When violence to an LGBT person follows those advances or relationships, it should not be justified as an appropriate reaction or excused as not morally blameworthy any more than it would be if the overtures or relationships involved a non-LGBT person. Anything else sends the unmistakable message that violence against the LGBT community is justified. GLAD supports this bill’s bright line test to limit certain otherwise available defenses in circumstances where the person who made advances or engaged in a relationship is known or discovered to be an LGBT person.