State lawmakers approve banning 'gay panic' defense of homicide

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A measure prohibiting homicide defendants from claiming a defense that panic brought on by a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity has been passed by lawmakers in Washington state.

Eight states — California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New York and Rhode Island — had banned the use of gay or transgender panic as a legal defense.

The Washington measure, passed by the Senate on a bipartisan 46-3 vote Wednesday, is named after Nikki Kuhnhausen, a transgender teen who was killed last year.

The bill passed the House earlier this month on a 90-5 vote.