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Garden State Equality: Assembly Committee Unanimously Approves Ban on Gay+Trans “Panic” Defense

New Jersey moves towards becoming the 9th state to ban the anti-LGBTQ legal practice, following 5 other states in 2019

Today, the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation to ban the gay and trans “panic” defense, setting New Jersey on the path to become the sixth state to prohibit the practice this year.

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“Make no mistake, the gay and trans ‘panic’ defense is flat-out legal malpractice, and it’s time for New Jersey to outlaw this horrific and discriminatory legal strategy,” said Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality. “At a time when hate crimes against the LGBTQ community — particularly transgender people — are on the rise in New Jersey, our lawmakers must send a strong, clear message that hate and intolerance are not welcome in our state and can never serve as an excuse for violent crimes, particularly murder.”

Garden State Equality board member Thomas Prol, who testified before the NJ Assembly Judiciary committee this morning, said, “We must end this discriminatory legal strategy that allows murderers of LGBTQ people to use bigotry as a defense and blame their victim. It is time that New Jersey join the eight other states, including New York, Connecticut and California, that have banned the gay and trans ‘panic’ defense because it legitimizes and excuses violent criminal acts against our community. No New Jersey jury should hear that an LGBTQ person ‘had it coming’ simply because of who they are.”

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