The National LGBT Bar Association was instrumental in the passage of three key resolutions in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. All three resolutions are centered on the basic principle of equality under the law, and Resolution 113A and Resolution 108D have served as a basis for legislation both in individual states and in the United States Congress.
American Bar Association House of Delegates Resolution 113A, 2013
Resolved, That the American Bar Association urges federal, tribal, state, local and territorial governments to take legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, which seek to partially or completely excuse crimes such as murder and assault on the ground that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction. Such legislative action should include:
(a) Requiring courts in any criminal trial or proceeding, upon the request of a part, to instruct the jury not to let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence its decision about the victims, witnesses, or defendants based upon sexual orientation or gender identity and
(b) Specifying that neither a non-violent sexual advance, nor the discovery of a person’s sex or gender identity, constitutes legally adequate provocation to mitigate the crime of murder to manslaughter, or to mitigate the severity of any non-capital crime.
American Bar Association House of Delegates Resolution 108D, 2017
Resolved, That the American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial and tribal courts to extend Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), to prohibit discrimination against jurors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
American Bar Association House of Delegates Resolution 113, 2019
Resolved, That the American Bar Association opposes laws, regulations, and rules or practices that discriminate against LGBT individuals in the exercise of the fundamental right to parent;
Further Resolved, That the American Bar Association urges lawmakers in jurisdictions where such discriminatory laws, regulations, and practices exist to promptly repeal them and ensure the equal protection of all LGBT individuals under the law; and
Further Resolved, That the American Bar Association urges bar associations and attorneys to defend victims of anti-LGBT discrimination, and to recognize and support their colleagues taking on this work.