A desk in the Oregon Capitol. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
A bill cleared the Oregon Legislature that does away with a legal defense in “gay panic” or “trans panic” cases.
THE ISSUE: Oregon still allows the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, allowing people accused of committing violence to argue the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity caused them to lose control.
THE BILL: Senate Bill 704
WHAT IT DOES: Defendants accused of murder in the second degree can no longer argue that their action should be excused because of the extreme emotional disturbance caused by discovering the victim’s gender identity, sexual orientation or perceived gender.
WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: Proponents of the bill point to a 2018 report by the FBI showing a 517.4% increase of reported hate crimes against individuals who identify as transgender between 2013 and 2018. Human Rights Commission reports that 2020 was the worst year on record for crimes committed against people because of their sexuality or gender identity.
HOW THE MARION/POLK DELEGATION VOTED:
The bill passed the Oregon House on May 13 on a 54-0 vote.
State Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn: Yes
State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Excused
State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: Yes
State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: Yes
State Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, R-Salem: Yes
State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: Excused
Sate Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: Yes
The bill passed the Oregon Senate on April 14 on a 29-1 vote.
Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: Yes
Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes
Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: Yes
Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: Yes
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: It heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.