Model Legislation for Eliminating the Gay and Trans Panic Defenses


“Be a full-time student of life, and learn every day, then there would be no surprises.” ~ Sourav Adhikari

Williams Institute Scholars Provide Model Legislation to Eliminate Use of Gay and Trans Panic Defences 

smilie-borg“Gay panic” and “transgender panic” defences have been asserted by defendants in criminal trials throughout the U.S. since the 1960s.  In these cases, defendants have argued that their violent behaviour was a rational response to discovering that the victim was LGBT

The defences are rooted in irrational fears based on homophobia and transphobia, and send the message that violence against LGBT people is understandable and acceptable.  When successful, these defences have resulted in murder charges being reduced to manslaughter or another lesser offence.
To date, only one state, California, has banned defendants from asserting gay or transgender panic defence by statute.  In this brief, Williams Institute scholars present model language, based on the language adopted in California, that other states may use to eliminate use of the defences through legislation

gayheartThe model legislation offers language to prohibit defendants from using gay and trans panic defences under each of the major defences theories of provocation, insanity/diminished capacity, and self-defence.  In addition, the brief provides an overview of the ways in which the defences have been asserted in trials throughout the last several decades, and evaluates potential constitutional challenges to state legislation eliminating use of the defences.


Williams Institute Fall Salon


Join fellow donors and supporters of the Williams Institute for cocktails and hear from the Institute’s Faculty Chair, Doug NeJaime, about recent and upcoming research and its impact on LGBT law and policy.

A Conversation on Religious Liberties

Date: Weds Oct 5th ~ Time: 6PM – 8PM  Address: Will be provided once RSVP is submitted

To RSVP to the event, please fill out this form by September 30, 2016. ~ We look forward to seeing you!


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