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Oregon Senate Democrats pass bill to protect LGBTQ+ victims of crime

Senate Bill 704 passed with near-unanimous support and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Posted: Apr 15, 2021 7:26 AM

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon could soon become the thirteenth state to ban what is often referred to as the "gay panic defense" or the "trans panic defense."

Oregon Senate Democrats passed Senate Bill 704 Wednesday, which will provide clarity and justice in crimes committed against LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Under current law, it is an affirmative defense to commit an act of murder in the second degree or claim self-defense because the act was committed due to an “extreme emotional disturbance” caused by the victim’s gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Senate Bill 704 would ban the use of this affirmative defense.

“The fact that this defense is available in state law is a relic of hate against LGTBQ+ individuals," said Sen. Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton), who spoke in support of the bill. "No one should be able to use a person’s identity to justify or excuse acts of violence against them. Legal protection for bigotry is absolutely unacceptable and repealing this antiquated and hateful law is long overdue. As only the second LGBTQIA+ and first openly gay member of the Oregon Senate, I feel very strongly about ensuring that Oregon is a safe place for my community." 

Senate Bill 704 passed with near-unanimous support and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

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