US: Politician takes on New Jersey ‘gay panic defence’

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A politician in the US state of New Jersey has introduced a bill to ban murder suspects from using the “gay panic” defence.

Despite never having been used in the state, Assemblyman Tim Eustace hopes to ban the defence.

The openly gay politician introduced the bill last week, saying it was important to ban the practice, despite not having been used before.

He said: “I want to make sure that we’re paying attention to things before they happen.”

The law in New Jersey currently states that a murder charge can be reduced to manslaughter if “it is committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.”

The bill would exclude the “discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the homicide victim’s actual or perceived gender identity or expression,” from the stated provocation.

This would include unreciprocated sexual advances.