Nevada Becomes Fourth U.S. State to Outlaw Gay and Trans ‘Panic Defense’ in Court

Nevada has become the fourth U.S. state to ban the gay and trans “panic defense” in court. The defense has been used historically by defendants to argue they were somehow provoked to kill or injure LGBT people after unwanted sexual advances, or the revelation of someone’s gender identity in an intimate moment. In Nevada, Senate Bill 94, signed into law earlier this week, “bans people from using a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a defense for committing a violent crime against them,” according to the Nevada Current.

Similar laws against the defense are in place in California (since 2014), Illinois (2017), and Rhode Island (2018). “I was proud to sign into law a bill to ban the discriminatory and bigoted gay and trans ‘panic’ defense tactic, which can be used to excuse violent hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement to the Current. “Amid a disturbing rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community around the world, Nevada is reaffirming our commitment to justice and equality for all individuals.”