Oregon joins several states in passing legislation to eliminate the “gay panic” defense. Mid-April, the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 704, 29-1.
One month later in May, the Oregon House has passed Bill 704, 54-0. The legislation prohibits anyone to use the so-called “gay panic” defense for second degree murder.
According to KOIN 6, the bill will bar anyone from being “justified in using physical force against another person upon discovery of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”
While there is no direct case related to the passing of the bill, KOIN 6 says it comes short of a year after the murder of Aja Raquell Rhone-Stevens. She was a 32-year-old transgender woman. July 2020, she was stabbed to death in Portland while at a vigil for another murder victim.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 44 LGBTQIA+ deaths occurred in 2020. So far, 23 deaths have been reported in 2021.
The bill is now in Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s hands.