New York State Bar
Association President Henry M. Greenberg participated in a press conference
with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, June 11 in support of
legislation to ban “gay panic” and “trans panic” legal defenses. Video of
Greenberg’s testimony is included below, as well as a transcript with excerpts
from his testimony.
Watch his testimony here:
Watch Governor Cuomo introduce President Greenberg here:
Hank Greenberg Transcript:
Governor, for the honor and privilege to join you and the other people who are
here today to talk about legislation that this state needs…
Let me thank you as well, Governor, for your tireless leadership on behalf of
women and the LGBTQ community. It's more than just tireless, it is singularly
successful. In the modern history of New York State, no person is more
responsible for making the Empire State the progressive capital of the nation
than Andrew Cuomo, and I thank you on behalf of all New Yorkers for that.
It's my privilege to serve as the president of the New York State Bar
Association. Over our 142 history, the State Bar has led on issues of profound
importance to the legal profession and to the public. It's that legacy and
tradition that brings me here today.
The foundation of our state and nation is the constitutional principle, the
bedrock principle of our country, equal justice under law. It is a simple yet
profound idea that each of us is entitled to fair and equal treatment under law.
The legislative proposals, that the Governor spoke about so eloquently and we
are here to discuss this morning, if enacted into law will make real the
promise of equal justice under law.
The so-called gay panic defense, for example, the gay panic defense is based on
the horrific, noxious concept that LGBTQ lives are worth less than others. That
concept is violative of our core values as a people, it is the very antithesis
of equality under law, equal justice under law. It's a defense, as the Governor
said so well, that essentially codifies homophobia, transphobia, unthinkable in
New York State. Nevertheless, it continues to be permitted in our courts. That
should stop immediately. This defense should be banned from our courts once and
over the next few days, the legislature has an opportunity, a real chance to
make history, to make equal justice under law a living, breathing reality. I
urge lawmakers to seize that opportunity by once and for all banning the gay
and trans panic legal defense…