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Under a law that passed the Iowa House, Iowans charged with a violent crime cannot use a victim’s sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identity as a mitigating factor in their defense.

Currently, the law would prevent criminal penalties, including assault, sexual abuse, kidnapping, or murder, if someone claims to be in a diminished mental capacity and received an unwanted sexual advance based on the other person’s sexual orientation, sex, or gender identity. Defendants using this claim that they were provoked into an attack because of the advances from someone of the LGBTQ+ community.  The defense has been used mostly around the country to try to decrease the criminal penalties in a murder or manslaughter case.

According to the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association and Foundation, LGBTQ+ individuals make up about 5.6% of the adult population, but account for 18.8% of the single-bias hate crime incidents. Further, the foundation states that research shows that 1 in 5 members of the LGBTQ+ community will experience a hate crime in their lifetime and 1 in 4 transgender people will be subjected to a hate crime.

Similar bills passed the House in 2020 and 2021, but failed to pass the Iowa Senate. House File 159 known to some as the “LGBTQ+ Panic Defense” now moves to the Senate for consideration, again

Author: Press Release


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