Equality California Offers Condolences to the Family of Blaze Bernstein, Victim of a Possible Hate Crime in Orange County

Los Angeles - January 16, 2018  – Today, Equality California released the following statement regarding the murder of Blaze Bernstein, a gay college student at the University of Pennsylvania, who's death in Orange County is being investigated as a possible hate crime. 

"We are saddened by the horrific loss of Blaze Bernstein, who lived his life as a proud member of the LGBTQ community. We extend our deepest condolences to his family." Said Rick Zbur, Executive Director at Equality California. "We expect a thorough investigation into the claims that this was a hate-crime motivated by 'gay-panic.' We are horrified by the details emerging that this senseless act of violence may have been motivated by homophobic sentiments, and if this is in fact the case, we hope this hate crime is prosecuted at the full-extent of the law. Blaze Bernstein and his family deserve justice."

Bernstein's remains were found in Borrego Park in Orange County; he was visting his parents in Lake Forest, California when he disappeared on January 3rd. An arrest has been made in connection to his murder. 

In California, legislation such as AB 2501, passed in 2014 and sponsored by Equality California, outlaws the "gay-panic," "trans-panic" defense in murder trials, and SB 1234, passed in 2004, clarified that crimes against individuals based on their sexual orientation are to be considered a hate crime.

Equality California is the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org

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