Governor Cuomo signs legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC-TV)- Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation banning the gay and trans panic legal defense, fulfilling his pledge to ensure nobody uses this abhorrent legal defense strategy in the State of New York.

The Governor signed the measure, a key component of his 2019 Justice Agenda, on WorldPride and the 50thanniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

The Governor also vowed to double down next legislative session on his campaign to legalize gestational surrogacy, which the Assembly failed to take up this year.

“The gay and trans panic defense is essentially a codification of homophobia and transphobia, and it is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion,” Cuomo said. “This defense strategy isn’t just offensive – it also sends a dangerous message that violence toward LGBTQ people is somehow OK. It’s not, and today we’re sending this noxious legal tool to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

The Governor also released a new video for social media featuring Delores Nettles, the mother of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who was brutally murdered in Harlem in 2013 and whose assailant used the gay and trans panic legal defense in court.

The gay and trans panic defenses allow those accused of violent crimes against LGBTQ people to receive a lesser sentence, and in some cases, avoid conviction, by placing the blame on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The passage of this bill would close a loophole in state law that currently allows individuals to use the gay and trans panic defenses after attacking another person based upon a perception, or discovery of, that victim’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

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