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California Gov. Signs Bill Outlawing ‘Gay Panic’ Defense That 24 Republicans Voted Against

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Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that bans the use of the so-called “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense. 

In the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, attorneys for the killers tried to invoke the “gay panic” defense. The Wyoming judge rightly did not allow it. But just a few years earlier, in a highly-publicized case, attorneys for Jonathan Schmitz used the “gay panic” defense after he murdered his friend Scott Amedure during “The Jenny Jones Show.” 

“Such defenses have been used before, sometimes successfully,” Salon notes. “In the murder of gay high school student Lawrence King, defendant Brandon McInerny — who was found guilty of shooting his classmate in the back of the head twice. But he wasn’t found guilty of murder — just of voluntary manslaughter.”

This week, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation outlawing the defense so ugly it has no right being used. Now, no one will be able to claim that a person’s sexual orientation, perceived or otherwise, or gender expression can be used as a defense in their murder or manslaughter.

AB-2501, the first of its kind in the nation, bans the use of what is commonly referred to as the “gay panic,” or “trans panic” defense.

In August, the bill passed the Senate 25-9, and the Assembly 58-15. No Democrat voted against it, yet a total of 24 lawmakers in the California Senate and Assembly saw fit to say “gay panic” and “trans panic” are acceptable defenses in murder or manslaughter cases.

Now they will face the full charges for their crime, just as if they had killed a heterosexual person,” Jim Reeves at the Visalia Times-Delta reports. “No more ‘momentary insanity’ claims because someone of the same gender (or transgender) made a pass (or you thought they made a pass) at you.”

The bill in part reads:

This bill would state that for purposes of determining sudden quarrel or heat of passion, the provocation was not objectively reasonable if it resulted from the discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the victim’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, including under circumstances in which the victim made an unwanted nonforcible romantic or sexual advance towards the defendant, or if the defendant and victim dated or had a romantic or sexual relationship. By changing the definition of a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

You can see how lawmakers voted at the California Legislature’s website, and contact Democratic lawmakers or Republican lawmakers to let them know your thoughts.

 

Image via Flickr


Related At The New Civil Rights Movement:

Taking Real Steps To Protect Transgender Kids: A Bridge Too Far For The LGB Community?

Governor Brown Signs FAIR Act, Teaching Gay History Now California Law

 

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LET'S NOT LIVE THROUGH THAT AGAIN

Commission to Allow Trump, Biden Microphones to Be Muted During Final Debate – After President Warned Against Change

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The Commission on Presidential Debates will announce a change to the rules for Thursday night’s final debate, and it’s sure to anger President Donald Trump. The Commission will allow the candidates’ microphones to be muted while their opponent is speaking, which is one of the reasons Trump gave for pulling out of last week’s virtual debate.

“As in the first debate, each candidate will be allotted two minutes of speaking time to initially answer the moderator’s questions,” The New York Times reports. “But under a plan being finalized by the commission on Monday, his opponent’s microphone would be turned off during that period, an attempt to ensure an uninterrupted response.”

Explaining why participating in a virtual debate would be “a waste of time” for him, Trump last week specifically said one of the reasons he wouldn’t is because moderators could “cut you off,” meaning cut his microphone off.

Trump has yet to react to the change in the rules.

Related: Trump Campaign Launches Lengthy and Inaccurate Objection to Debate Topics: ‘Only a Few Touch on Foreign Policy’

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Far Right House Republicans Urge Barr to Appoint Special Counsel to Investigate Joe Biden and Son Hunter

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Eleven of the most extreme House Republicans are urging Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the former Vice President’s son Hunter Biden.

Fox News reports the Republicans want Barr “to appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged revelations coming from a laptop purported to have belonged to Joe Biden’s son Hunter — specifically the elder Biden’s alleged participation in his son’s business dealings.”

The letter to the Attorney General is signed by just 11 of the 198 Republican Representatives, among them far right extremists like white supremacist Steve King of Iowa, white nationalist Louis Gohmert of Texas, religious extremist Jody Hice of Georgia, and science-denier Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Also among the 11 signatories, Congressman Andy Biggs, a “hydroxychloroquine kook” according to a local Arizona opinion writer, took to Twitter to attack Biden.

The allegations against the Bidens, fueled by a NY Post article being called Russian disinformation and based on content provided by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been debunked from the start.

Trump is attacking Barr for not having already opened an investigation into the Bidens.

Should Barr cave and open an investigation it would not be the first politically-motivated attack on Bidem from Republicans. Last month Senate Republicans ended an investigation that “found no evidence of improper influence or wrongdoing by the former vice president, closing out an inquiry its leaders had hoped would tarnish the Democratic presidential nominee.”

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Trump Delivers Closing Pitch to ‘Suburban Housewives’ at Rally: ‘Women, I Like Women — I Like Women!’

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President Donald J. Trump made his closing pitch to who he called “suburban housewives” at his Arizona rally Monday. He bellowed, “Women, I like women — I like women!” in a classic Trumpian move while his supporters cheered.

“Listen, here’s the story. They said ‘suburban women’ — I used to call them ‘suburban housewives,’ I got killed all the time. I said, ‘ugh, I better go politically correct.’ Is there one woman here who minds being called, if you’re married at least, a ‘suburban housewife’ ’cause…”

The crowd erupted with “No!”

“The only ones who mind are those characters… there’s a lot of people up there – the press, right? Those are the only ones. The rest of them don’t.”

Watch the video below.

 

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