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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 27, 2020 08:19 AM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Adam Ravenstahl
To: All House members
Subject: “Gay and Trans Panic” defense prohibition
In the near future, we plan on introducing a companion bill to Senator Farnese’s SB 212, legislation that effectively bans the use of “gay panic” and “trans panic” defense in this Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania currently allows the use of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defense. In 2015, Representative Schlossberg introduced House Bill 1509 which would ban the use of this defense in criminal homicides. Our legislation would mirror SB 212, similarly prohibiting the use of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defense in consideration of serious provocation.

As you may know, the “gay and trans panic” defense theory may allow perpetrators of criminal actions against Pennsylvanian’s LGBTQ+ community to receive a lesser sentence and in some cases even avoid being convicted or punished, by placing the blame for their actions on a victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Use of this criminal justice loophole is wrong and it should stop.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are facing an unprecedented rise in hate crimes. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 2017 was one of the worst years for crimes against members of the LGBTQ+ community. NCAVP found that as of August 23, 2017, 36 hate violence related homicides of LGBTQ+ and HIV affected people had been reported, which represents nearly one homicide a week of a member of the LGBTQ+ community. This represents an increase of 29% from 2016.

We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HB2333