Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The 'Gay Panic Defense' is Alive and Kicking in Cook County, Illinois

Michael Rowe has an article on HuffPost about the acquittal of a man who stabbed another man 61 times. Apparently all you need to do to get an acquittal is claim the victim was gay and made unwanted sexual advances towards you for a jury in Cook County, Illinois to let you walk.

Now, the newly freed killer claimed the victim assaulted him while he was passed out drunk. There were no witnesses and no evidence the victim was gay. He claims all sixty-one stab wounds were made in self-defense. All sixty-one stab wounds. I can only assume he was too drunk to realize the victim was dead after the first couple of stabs, and just kept going.

This should scare everyone, LGBT and Straight. What kind of madness is it to let a murderer walk because they blame the victim? "He/She made me do it because they were touching/staring/flirting with/scaring me." Does this mean that if I am in Cook County I get to stab the creepy guy in the elevator and claim he made unwanted sexual advances to me? Or does that not work for me because I'm female? How does this work exactly? Latinos make you nervous? How about African-Americans? Caucasians? Asians? The disabled? Evangelicals scare me...those WWJD hats and t-shirts are intimidating! Where does it end?

Of course I am being somewhat facetious, but really, this is frightening. Sixty-one stab wounds is not self-defense...sixty-one stab wounds is, literally, overkill. And he is walking free because he claimed the victim made homosexual advances towards him that required stabbing the victim sixty-one times to fend off.

I don't know who scares me more...the killer or the jury.

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