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Legislature votes to ban LGBTQ panic defense

State of Michigan

Michigan lawmakers sent a bill to the governor this week that would ban the use of the so-called “LGBTQ panic” defense in court

The panic defense involves claiming a defendant’s discovery or perception of a victim’s gender or sexuality may have been a factor in a crime.

Democratic Representative Laurie Pohutsky says it’s had a chilling effect on the LGBTQ community.

“Having to go through all of the trauma of reporting and a trial for nothing or a highly reduced sentence because the panic defense was deployed, it has been an issue. Both more statistically and also anecdotally, I know people that have not reported for that reason.”

The bill passed mostly along party lines in the state legislature.

In the Senate, concerns came up that the bill may be too broad.

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