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Nevada finally banned the “gay panic defense,” a legal backing for those who claim they hurt or killed a queer person out of fear or confusion. 

According to the Nevada CurrentSenate Bill 97, which was signed into law this week, bans those accused of committing violent crimes from using their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a defense.

Senate Bill 97, which was signed into law this week, bans those accused of committing violent crimes from using their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a defense. 

“I was proud to sign into law a bill to ban the discriminatory and bigoted gay and trans ‘panic’ defense tactic which can be used to excuse violent hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement. “Amid a disturbing rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community around the world, Nevada is reaffirming our commitment to justice and equality for all individuals.”

“This so-called gay or transgender panic defense is based in prejudice and should never be available in any American courtroom,” Briana Escamilla, state director for the Human Rights Campaign, told New Now Next. “These ‘defenses’ send the destructive message that LGBTQ victims are less worthy of justice and their attackers justified in their violence. Every victim of violent crime and their families deserve equal justice, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We’re grateful that Gov. Steve Sisolak quickly signed this legislation into law.”