Colorado Governor Signs Law Banning Gay and Trans 'Panic' Defenses

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday July 14, 2020

In this Thursday, May 28, 2020, file photograph, Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference about the state's efforts against the new coronavirus in Denver
In this Thursday, May 28, 2020, file photograph, Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference about the state's efforts against the new coronavirus in Denver  (Source:AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Jared Polis, the openly gay governor of Colorado, signed into law a measure that bans the use of the so-called "gay panic" and "trans panic" defense strategies in trials, reports The Denver Post.

The legislation had gained bipartisan support, media sources said.

Signing the bill into law on July 13, Polis said," We've come a long way here in Colorado since our days as the Hate State." That's a reference to Colorado's legacy from the early 1990s, when voters in the state passed Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution so as to prevent state and local governments from enacting LGBTQ-friendly anti-discrimination protections. That amendment was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 1996.

News channel KOAA quoted the Colorado District Attorneys' Council's Amanda Gall as saying that the gay and trans panic defense is "when someone claims that they had a reasonable fear of a person because of their sexual orientation or gender". Such defense strategies have been employed in the past by defendants accused of murdering LGBTQ people.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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