LANSING, Mich, July 1, 2024 — Speaker Pro Tempore Laurie Pohutsky’s (D-Livonia) House Bill 4718 passed the House of Representatives last week. This legislation prohibits “gay or trans panic” defense,”  which is a legal strategy used by a perpetrator of a violent crime seeking an acquittal or mitigated sentence claiming that they lost control and reacted violently because of the victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity or an unwanted sexual advance. Allowing for these violent crimes to be partially or fully excused sends the message that LGBTQ+ people are less important, and lets offenders blame violent crimes on the victim’s identity.

“The policy this bill encompasses is something I have been focused on for quite some time, and to see it pass through both the House and the Senate is monumental,” Pohutsky said. “This legislation, along with other bills we have passed this term, significantly expand legal protections for LGBTQ+ communities. The fight for security isn’t over, but I’m proud to see how far we’ve come.”

The passage of HB 4718 builds on work Democrats have done this term to protect LGBTQ+ Michiganders. Measures that are now law include the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the state’s anti-discrimination law and banning the harmful practice of conversion therapy on minors.