Elimination of Gay and Trans Panic Defense Passes Minnesota Senate

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota Senate passed the Judiciary and Public Safety Bill, which includes the elimination of gay and trans panic defense. Authored by Senator Bonnie Westlin (DFL – Plymouth), this provision eliminates legal strategies that seek to partially or completely excuse crimes such as murder and assault on the grounds that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction. 

“Gay and trans Minnesotans deserve the same protections under the law as all our neighbors receive,” said Senator Westlin. “Gay and trans panic defenses are based on irrational fears and prejudice toward LGBTQ+ people, and they imply that violence against LGBTQ+ people is acceptable under certain conditions. I am proud to see our state continue to protect LGBTQ+ Minnesotans, especially when they are victims of violent crime.”

Once signed by the Governor, Minnesota will become the 18th state to outlaw gay and trans panic defense. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 34-33. 

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Senator Bonnie Westlin represents Senate District 42 which includes Maple Grove, Medicine Lake, and Plymouth. She is vice chair of the Elections Committee and serves on the Education Finance Committee and the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

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