The Illinois General Assembly has unanimously passed a bill that, if signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, would prevent a defendant from using the sexual orientation or gender identity of their victim as a legal defense.
The bill, SB 1761, passed the House 104-0 on May 31, after passing the Senate 41-0 earlier in the month. The bill's sponsors were state Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) and state Rep. Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford).
If the legislation is signed, Illinois would become the second state in the United States, after California, to ban LGBT-panic defenses. In 2013, the American Bar Association adopted a resolution calling on state legislatures to curtail the use of the defense.
In a statement, Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson said, "At a time when one-fifth of hate crimes reported to the FBI are committed against LGBTQ people, the Illinois General Assembly sent a powerful bipartisan message today that anti-LGBTQ stigma must not carry over to the courtroom.
Johnson added, "We thank Sen. Biss and Rep. Wallace for championing SB 1761. The lives of LGBTQ Illinoisans will be better because of the legislation. Now we call on Gov. Rauner to quickly sign the bill."