BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy are pushing a bill that would end the use of so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in federal court.

The defenses refer to the argument in court that the revelation of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity provoked a violent reaction from a defendant that resulted in assault or murder.

The two Democrats said Friday the defense blames the victim for the violence committed against them.

“Murdering or assaulting anyone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is not a defense, it is a hate crime,” Kennedy tweeted. “Proud to stand w/ @SenMarkey to introduce a bill banning a defense that should have never existed in the first place.”

They say the bill would curtail the availability and effectiveness of the gay and trans panic defenses, a step many in the legal community have been urging for years.

The bill is also sponsored in the Senate by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and in the House by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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