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Local leaders react to Gov. Cuomo’s quest to ban Gay Panic Defense

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ROCHESTER, NY – (WROC) – New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to put a stop to what’s called the ”gay and transgender panic defense.” It’s a legal maneuver that uses extreme emotional distress to excuse violent crimes against individuals from the LQBTQ community.

For decades lawyers have used the legal tactic that asks a jury to find a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity to blame for a defendant’s reaction. This has been used in many cases including murder.

Now Cuomo is asking lawmakers to ban the legal tactic.

Local organizations like OutAlliance are hoping Cuomo is successful in passing the new bill. “Any defense that relies on blaming the victim based on gender expression, sexuality, race, or economic status is frightening,” said Tamara Leigh, Operations Director for OutAlliance. “That’s scary.”

Rev. Brae Adams, the pastor of Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church, counsels victims of violent crimes. “He said there were people calling me names outside of the bathroom door. So I ran in and locked it. And I do not think I am safe to come out,” said Adams about the incident she received via text.

We are expecting a statement from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s office on this proposal. If the bill is passed, New York would be the fifth state to pass this kind of legislation. 

Connecticut just passed its version today.

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