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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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'BAD JUDGMENT'

Mike Pence Quietly Took a Huge Christmas Ski Vacation as Coronavirus Cases Soared – Costing Taxpayers Over $750,000

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More details continue to emerge about the Trump-Pence administration.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said new documents show then-VP Mike Pence showed “bad judgment” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“While coronavirus cases surged to record levels late last December, Vice President Mike Pence went on a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado. The trip came with a massive bill to taxpayers, with Secret Service protection alone costing $757,527.85, according to documents obtained by CREW. At the time of his holiday travel, Pence was the head of the White House coronavirus task force, which put out dire warnings after Thanksgiving as the CDC recommended that Americans stay home over the holidays in order to limit the spread of the virus. Clearly, Pence did not follow the government’s advice, and in the process put dozens of Secret Service agents at heightened risk of infection,” the group said on Thursday.

“Pence’s trip extended from December 23rd to January 1st, and reportedly included a Secret Service entourage of at least 48 agents, contributing to both the high cost and the risk of infection.The agents stayed at several different hotels in the Vail area and rented 77 cars for the trip. The charges included more than $270,000 at the Marriott Vail Mountain and more than $80,000 at the Ritz Carlton,” the group reported.

“This also is not the first time Mike Pence stuck taxpayers with huge bills for his travel. Back in 2019, he traveled to Ireland for government business in Dublin, but stayed overnight at Donald Trump’s resort on the other side of the country in Doonbeg. Travel costs for that were more than half a million dollars, and also resulted in the Secret Service spending more than $15,000 at Trump’s resort,” the group noted. “While Pence’s December trip to Vail was less nakedly corrupt than his trip to Doonbeg, it showed another kind of bad judgment, by putting many government workers tasked with keeping him safe at risk in the midst of a raging pandemic. We would hope that the head of the coronavirus task force would know better.”

Image: Official White House photo by Myles D. Cullen via Flickr

 

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'GAY GAY GAY. WOW.'

Andrew Yang Tried to Get an LGBTQ Group’s Endorsement So He Talked About Wanting to Visit a Lesbian Bar: NYT

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Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was a surprising breakout success but suffered criticisms about “tone,” and continues to, is running to become New York City’s next mayor. He’s currently the frontrunner in the very early race but once again, as The New York Times reports, his inability to build support among minority groups is hurting him.

Yang spoke to the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a top LGBTQ organization, on Wednesday.

“It did not go particularly well,” the Times reports.

Yang’s approach and the way he treated LGBTQ people was seen as “outdated,” according to Stonewall’s president, Rose Christ.

“Yang cited gay members of his staff as apparent evidence of his openness to the club’s concerns, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of visiting Cubbyhole, a storied New York lesbian bar, participants said,” the Times reveals.

“He proactively talked about resurrecting the city’s Pride March, but failed to pay sufficient heed to more substantive issues they were actually concerned about, including homelessness and affordable housing, they said.”

“When I see a candidate come in just with Michael Scott levels of cringe and insensitivity, it either tells me Andrew Yang is in over his head or is not listening to his staff,” said Alejandra Caraballo, a member of the organization, referring to the character played by Steve Carell on “The Office.” “Those are both radioactive flashing signs that say he is not prepared to be mayor of New York.”

Yang also repeatedly referred to LGBTQ people as a “community,” telling members of the Stonewall Democratic Club how much he cares about “your community.”

“I genuinely do love you and your community,” Yang told members. “You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party.”

Filmmaker and Stonewall member Harris Doran said Yang “kept calling us ‘Your community,’ like we were aliens.”

“We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” Yang also said. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”

“Gay, gay, gay. Wow,” one person wrote in the chat accompanying the forum, which was later shared with The New York Times. “More to us than just that.”

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Trump Loving Lawmaker Schooled for Claim Founders Oppose DC Statehood: They ‘Never Intended’ for GOP to ‘Commit Sedition’ Either

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Just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to make Washington, D.C. a state, Ohio Republican state representative Mike Loychik posted a tweet insisting the “founders never intended for Washington DC to become a state.”

He’s not wrong, technically, but – as many corrected him – given that the founders never intended for many things, including for women and Black people to be allowed to vote, for people who did not own property to vote, and, as some noted, for Republicans to “commit sedition,” what difference does it make?

The founders also did not originally intend for Washington, D.C. to be the seat of government. First it was New York City, then Philadelphia.

Rep. Loychik, who just filed a bill to make Ohio taxpayers spend $300,000 to rename Mosquito Lake State Park in Donald Trump’s honor, did not respond to any of the people educating him, but hours later he posted a tweet attacking Democrats:

Loychik is clearly ignoring the fact that “the Republican Party has historically taken far more effective advantage of the addition of new states,” as The Atlantic reported in 2019.

In 1889 and 1890, Congress added North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming—the largest admission of states since the original 13. This addition of 12 new senators and 18 new electors to the Electoral College was a deliberate strategy of late-19th-century Republicans to stay in power after their swing toward Big Business cost them a popular majority. The strategy paid dividends deep into the future; indeed, the admission of so many rural states back then helps to explain GOP control of the Senate today, 130 years later.

Washington, D.C. could become the 51st state, if Democrats in the Senate can convince six of their Democratic colleagues currently opposed to the measure, and another ten Senate Republicans to support it, or kill the filibuster, which would allow passage with 50 Senate votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.

Here’s how some are schooling the Ohio Republican lawmaker:

 

Image: screenshot via Facebook

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