Senator Pappas leads 24 DFL Senators in push to end LGBTQ+ panic defense

Senator Sandra Pappas (DFL – St. Paul) has led 24 members of the Senate DFL caucus in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Senator Warren Limmer urging them to take up Senate File 1512, a bill to end the LGBTQ+ panic defense. 

In addition to the letter (please see attached), Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL–Saint Paul) released the following statement: 

“There should be no room in our legal system for anti-transgender discrimination. Yet, the LGBTQ+ panic defense is a legal strategy that allows for discrimination against transgender individuals who are victims of assault and other violent crimes. We must eliminate the use of this offensive criminal defense strategy so that members of the LGBTQ+ community are entitled to the same rights as all Minnesotans,” said Senator Pappas.  

Two decades ago, a 21-year-old openly gay student named Matthew Shepard was brutally tortured and murdered for his sexual orientation. Judy Shepard, President of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, shared the following statement in support of SF 1512: 

“The LGBTQ+ panic defense is a direct affront to the memory of Matt and all the other LGBTQ+ victims of hate crimes, because this so-called defense upholds in court the notion that violence, even homicide, is a reasonable or understandable response to a life lived openly. The LGBTQ+ panic defense allows perpetrators of violence to avoid facing the full legal consequences of their crimes, and it subjects LGBTQ+ individuals to violence two times over: first, in the terrible physical and psychological suffering that they endure at the hands of their assailants, and again in an outdated legal system that denies equal justice.” 

Dr. Ellen Kennedy, Executive Director of World Without Genocide, offered the following statement: 

“At World Without Genocide, we believe that using gender identity as a defense for murder is an assault on the dignity and the human rights of LGBTQ+ people and an act of hate.  The American Bar Association, representing more than 200,000 lawyers throughout the country, urges its ban in every state, tribal jurisdiction, and by the federal government.” 

Senator Sandy Pappas
Sandy Pappas represents District 65, which includes portions of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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