Why LGBT People Are Often Booted from Juries

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com May 01 2012 1:56 PM ET

It remains legal in most states to strike LGBT people from juries, though one legislator is working to change that.

Minnesota state senator Scott Dibble recently introduced a bill that would ban the exclusion of jurors simply because they are LGBT. California and Oregon already have such a law, though most states allow attorneys to dismiss potential jurors if they believe they are gay or transgender — the common mind-set is that LGBT people have been victims of discrimination and will have sympathy for others in similar situations. The practice of not allowing any LGBT people on juries undermines the idea of people being judged by a jury of their peers, advocates say. Gay people were weeded out of the trial of Dan White, the man who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978.

Though perceived sexual orientation and gender identity are often used as reasons to banish potential jurors from serving on cases, attorneys cannot strike jurors simply because of their race or sex. Read more here.