HARRISBURG, Pa. - Two local Pennsylvania lawmakers are introducing a bill they say will help protect the LGBTQ+ community.
The legislation would ban what's known as "gay panic" or "trans panic," which is a defense that blames someone's actions on a victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, said state Reps. Mike Schlossberg and Ben Sanchez in a news release.
The Democratic lawmakers call it a loophole that's "not only unnecessary, but an active invitation to human rights violations."
Similar bills have been introduced in Pennsylvania before, but this legislation would extend beyond "gay" and "trans," to "LGBTQ+," to include all members of the marginalized community, the news release said.
“Let’s be honest: There are people who look for an excuse to hate and hurt others,” said Schlossberg, who represents part of Lehigh County, in a statement. “It’s awful that we need to provide protections like this, but it’s our reality. There is no place in our society for fear-based attacks on another person.”
The announcement comes days after a group of Republican state lawmakers introduced legislation to ban transgender women from competing on women's sports teams. Schlossberg and Sanchez, who represents part of Montgomery County, said the trend in similar bans in states across the country is part of the ongoing discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community.
The House bill will serve as a companion bill to similar legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate.