Only two representatives voted against the bill.
Neveda could become the fourth US state to ban the use of the gay and trans ‘panic’ defence in criminal cases, after a bill passed the State’s Senate. The bill will now go onto the State’s Assembly, where Democrats outnumber Republicans with 29-13.
The defence, which is mostly used in assault or murder cases, allows people to defend themselves by blaming the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the reason for the attack.
The bill, which passed the Senate by 19-2 votes, says “an alleged state of passion or provocation” will not be considered a valid defence if “it resulted from… [the] sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of the victim.”
The bill also seemingly criticised other states that allow the defence to be used, calling the defence “surprisingly long-lived, historical artifacts and remnants of a time when widespread public antipathy was the norm for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.”
It added that the defence were based off of “irrational fears and hatred of [LGBTQ] people, thereby undermining the legitimacy of criminal prosecutions and resulting in unjustifiable acquittals or sentencing reductions.”
Writers of the bill concluded by saying they aimed to “end the antiquated notion that the lives of [LGBTQ people] are worth less than the lives of other persons and to reflect a modern understanding of [LGBTQ] persons as equal to other persons under the law.”
Currently, only three states have bans against the defence, those being California, Illinois and Rhode Island. However, a ban in New York state is due to be debated during this legislative season, and a conference committee has been set up in Hawaii in a bid to get the defence banned.
Last year, Democrats introduced legislation aiming to ban the use of the defence nationwide. The legislation, called the Gay and Trans Panic Defence Prohibition Act of 2018, would have amended title 18 of the United States code, and was introduced by Senator Edward J. Markey and Congressman Joseph Kennedy III.
However, the bill was defeated in committee.