The defense is actually known as the Gay Panic Defense, a legal tactic used by criminal defense lawyers to explain or excuse the defendant’s reaction in brutally beating or murdering a gay or transgender person. They simply could not help it.
This defense dates back to 1998 when Sam Shepard, a young gay man, was brutally murdered by two men he had encountered. The defense continues to be used today.
State Senator Lawrence M. Farnese has introduced legislation that would ban this defense in Pennsylvania. The legislation is not expected to proceed as we would like, but it is a first start in abolishing this abhorrent legal tactic.