Monday, June 20, 2011

Michigan Court: "Gay Panic" Defense Unusable

Some sensibility came out of Michigan today with the appeals court ruling that the "gay panic" defense was no longer applicable in hate crime cases (PDF).

The term "gay panic" has come to be used in cases where someone violently assaults a gay person after that gay person has come onto them.  The case related to this ruling involved an attacker coming home with a gay man and then violently choking him near to death.

"This case arises from the beating of Ryan Young. In the early morning hours of June 11, 2009, Young was celebrating his birthday with friends at a local bar. Defendant was also at the bar. Young did not know defendant, but defendant joined Young and his friends at their table and defendant and Young talked and became acquainted. At about 3:30 a.m., Young and defendant were dropped off at Young's apartment. Young testified that he went into his bedroom to change and asked defendant: 'did you want to do anything or did you just want to go to bed,' to which defendant responded: 'yeah, I'm going to do something you fucking faggot.'"

The gay panic defense has been used uncounted times in order to get shitbag homophobes off the hook for committing violent crimes against gay people for years.  I'm glad to see the criminal justice system is starting to realize that me hitting on a straight person isn't an excuse for me get beaten or killed.

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