Scared Straight: Pushing the Panic Button

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Date:

06/23/2010

6/23/2010

"Although there's no standard definition of the 'gay panic' defense, it rests on the defendant's being so offended or shocked by sexual advances from a person of the same gender that the defendant assaults or kills the victim.

"...Jon Davidson, legal director at Lambda Legal, a national organization for gay, lesbian and transgender people, said the gay-panic defense could be used as part of an insanity defense or shown as a form of provocation.

"...'The test of it is, it has to be something that is a sudden and intense passion resulting from a serious provocation,' he said.

"...Many don't see gay panic as self-defense but rather as a victim-blaming defense.

"...'Sometimes in these cases people claim they made an advance on me or touched me,' [Davidson] said. 'If that were an adequate defense for murder, then there would sure be a lot of heterosexual men in this country who'd be murdered.'"

Read more in the Philadelphia Daily News.