President Greenberg's Testimony at Governor Cuomo's Press Conference Regarding Legislation to Ban the “Gay Panic” and “Trans Panic” Defense

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:
Thank you, 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 for all…

So 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…