Several more states are expected to follow later this year.
Mathew Whitehead

2 Jan 2018 - 4:26 PM  UPDATED 2 Jan 2018 - 4:26 PM

Starting this month Illinois becomes the second state in the U.S. to rule out the "gay panic" defence.

The defence allowed for defendants to use a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity as the justification for violent crimes committed against them.

Often the argument frames a crime in that the defendant was "provoked" after seeing queer acts or due to sexual advances from the victim. It was often used as a loophole in an attempt to downgrade homicide charges to manslaughter. 

While the defence isn't common, and those that have attempted to use it have rarely been successful, advocates for the ban believed it was imperative to introduce due to a rise in crimes against LGBT+people.

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The legislation went through without opposition in the state House or Senate, being signed off by Governer Bruse Rauner in August, and coming into effect from January 1.

California was the first state to ban the defence back in 2014, with AP reporting LGBT+ advocates looking to repeat the success in Illinois in half a dozen states.

Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois said, "For us, it was important to eradicate (the defence), regardless of use"

"It makes our identity sufficient reason for murder. We never wanted it to be used going forward."

Tasmania was the first Australian state to introduce reforms abolishing the defence of provocation in 2003. All other states followed, excluding South Australia which still allows the argument.

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