Good news in Illinois as the state’s governor has just signed two bills into law that will help LGBTs find greater equality in the Prairie State.
The first bill removes the option of a “gay panic” defense in murder cases. Utilized in several LGBT murders in recent years (Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena, Marco McMillan), “gay panic” defenses have allowed defendants accused of killing homosexuals to legally claim they had a legitimate fear for their safety because the victim had made a pass at them.
The defense has been criticized by many for implicitly condoning that LGBTs are a threat to society.
Illinois is the second state in the U.S. to ban the defense. California is the only other state to pass similar legislation.
The second bill makes it easier for transgender people to amend their birth certificates to reflect their correct gender identity.
Until now, trans folks had to submit sworn affidavits from their physicians confirming they had performed gender confirmation surgery.
Under the new law, trans individuals are only required to provide a note from licensed medical professionals documenting the fact that they are receiving “clinically appropriate” treatment as they transition.