This week, the California State Assembly passed a bill that would prevent murder defendants from using “gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses.

Sometimes in murder cases, defendants justify their crimes by saying that they panicked when they discovered the victim was gay or trans, especially if they were sexually involved. And sometimes, it actually gets them off the hook.

Under current California law, murder charges can be reduced to manslaughter if defendants successfully claim their violent acts were triggered by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. …

The defense has been used in several high-profile cases in the state including in 2002 when 17 year-old Gwen Araujo was beaten and strangled by four men in Newark, California.

Two of the four defendants were only found guilty of manslaughter.

The state Senate has already passed the law, so it’s up to Gov. Brown to sign it into law. Please, please, please. 

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