(WM) Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law July 13 a bill banning the use of gay or transgender panic as a defense in the courtroom.
“The gay or transgender panic defense is when someone claims that they had a reasonable fear of a person because of their sexual orientation or gender, that made that person somehow predatory, or somehow a person who you should be afraid of. And so, they react with violence, they try to justify that violent reaction based on who the victim is, rather than their words or actions,” Amanda Gall, a sexual assault resource prosecutor with the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council, said to KOAA News 5.
Colorado is now the 11th state to ban gay and trans panic defense. California was the first state to ban the defense in 2014, and since then it has been banned in Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Hawaii, Nevada, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey and Washington.
The other bills signed into law by Polis include simplifying requirements for minors to obtain a new birth certificate and identification documents reflecting their correct gender identity and opening coverage for individuals who need assistance obtaining HIV medications.
Polis made history in 2018 when he became the first openly gay person to be elected as governor in the U.S.