By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/20/2020
Posted: 7/21/2006
Topics/Keywords: #Humor #GayRights Page Views: 3315
If homophobes are entitled to the 'gay panic defense', so should be everyone!
Panic in the crowd!

Every now and then, a man who happens to be straight murders a man who happens to be gay, gets caught, and finds himself before a judge and jury for his crime. His defense lawyer must then try to get him off the hook. Failing in any attempt to disprove the defendant did, in fact, murder the victim, defense counsel must try and come up with a rationalization for the murder that will convince the jury that the defendant was justified in killing the victim and is not, therefore, a threat to society at large.

In some cases, the defense will claim that the victim propositioned the defendant, and the defendant, being straight, was so deeply horrified that a gay man would be attracted to him, that he suffered a psychotic break that made murder seem to be the only reasonable response.

In other words, the conversation would run something like this:

Straight Guy: "Dude. How 'bout them Rangers, eh?"

Gay Guy: "Huh?"

Straight Guy: "What's wrong, don't tell me you're rooting for the other team!"

Gay Guy: "Oh, sorry, I don't follow sports. But let me tell you, that's a terrific shirt you're wearing. It really brings out the blue in your eyes."

Straight Guy: "What the fuck??!" Pulls out gun and shoots Gay Guy between the eyes.

Bartender: "What is it? Oh, my God—he's dead! What happened?"

Straight Guy: "He wasn't rooting for the Rangers."

Bartender: "Well, then. You had to kill him."

However, in court, there is no "Rangers Panic Defense." So the murderer would rely on the "Gay Panic Defense" which, though it almost never brings acquittal, does sometimes achieve a lesser charge, such as second-degree murder or even manslaughter.

In today's news, a group of prosecutors is trying to exclude use of the Gay Panic Defense entirely. This may have been influenced by the fact that the murderers of Matthew Shepherd, who claimed to have been driven to murder by his telling them he thought they were hot, now claim they were actually just trying to rob him and got carried away. In any case, it has brought up the concept of the Gay Panic Defense without its being associated with any specific trial, and therefore may be discussed more neutrally than might otherwise be the case.

Predictably, organizations that support gays and lesbians also support the idea of disallowing a defense plan that makes the victim's sexual orientation the centerpiece of the trial. But I disagree. I just don't think we have enough panic defenses. I would support keeping the Gay Panic Defense as long as we also pass a Federal law to allow these additional panic defenses:

The Straight Panic Defense

A gay person is so disgusted by a straight person's mismatched belt and shoes that murder is the only response.

The Male Panic Defense

A woman is so horrified by the sight of a man's reproductive organs that cutting them off is the only response.

The Breast Panic Defense

A man is so overwhelmed by the view of a woman's mammary glands (or the suggestive curve of them beneath her blouse) that ripping aside her clothes and sucking on them is the only response.

The Coultergeist Panic Defense

A person with a conscience is so offended by right-wing authors who insult widows of 9/11 victims that ripping off his or her face and feeding it to rabid wolves is the only response.

The Baldwin Panic Response

A film lover is so terrified at the idea of another Baldwin brother becoming an actor that murdering anyone with the last name of Baldwin, or even anyone who's bald, is the only response.

The Pop Psychology Panic Response

A former psychiatric patient is so traumatized by his or her years in analysis that murdering anyone who uses pop psychology phrases such as "passive aggressive" or "bipolar" or "I see your time is up" is the only response.

The Serial Mom Panic Response

As shown in the John Waters film, a person who takes the rules of custom so seriously that murdering a scofflaw who wears white after Labor Day or neglects, at a dinner party, to seat the guests boy-girl-boy-girl, is the only response.

The Attack of Conscience Panic Response

Applies to a person who, after personally avoiding military service by joining the National Guard and then not showing up even for that, then heading several companies and driving each one into bankruptcy yet managing to sell stock in it before it falls thus making millions at the expense of the other stockholders, finds that murdering hundreds of thousands of middle eastern civilians and thousands of U.S. soldiers in a manufactured conflict under false pretenses, is the only response.

Although that last suggestion isn't likely to be used more than once, by including it, and omitting any references to stem cells, we can pretty much make sure the whole law won't be vetoed!