House Passes Bill Banning Gay and Trans Panic Legal Defense

DENVER, CO– The House today passed Representatives Brianna Titone and Matt Soper’s bipartisan bill to ban the use of the gay and transgender “panic” defense. The bill passed 63-1.

“It’s time for this defense strategy to be abolished,” said Rep. Titone, D-Arvada. “We cannot say that we value the lives and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ population if we allow legal defense strategies that rely on prejudice to be practiced in our courts. This bill shows that we’re willing to take action and prove that we truly value the LGBTQ+ community, especially the vulnerable lives of black trans women. Everyone deserves a just and fair trial and this will go a long way to show that we are ready and willing to take the safety of the LGBTQ+ community seriously.”

SB20-221 would virtually abolish the use of a victim’s gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation as a legal defense in which the perpetrator could use a  ‘sudden heat of passion’ as an excuse for criminal wrongdoings. If this bill is signed into law, Colorado would join California, Hawaii, Nevada, Illinois, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington as states that have banned the gay and trans panic defense strategy.