In all but three states, people accused of murder can still deploy what’s known as a gay or trans panic defense.
A lawyer tried to use that tactic to justify why his client beat and tortured Matthew Shepard, the college student whose death became a rallying crying for LGBTQ hate crime legislation. A Pennsylvania lawyer, who decades later ran for state Supreme Court, similarly contended that the sight of two women having sex drove his client to shoot them, one fatally. In both cases, the judge rejected the argument.
State Sen. Larry Farnese of Philadelphia wants Pennsylvania to become the next state to prohibit the use of these defenses in murder trials.