Colorado Bill against “Gay Panic” Defense Revived

With all the chaos, the Colorado legislature dropped a bill that would formally eliminate the “gay panic” defense. I review the bill in my column today for Complete Colorado.

Representative Brianna Titone sent me the following statement on June 6:

“I was well aware that many bills were going to be killed because of budget and time, but bills that were free, bipartisan, and in the opposite Chamber, I didn’t think would all be killed. One of those bills was HB20-1307. I wasn’t aware of what bills were destined to die and which ones were to be kept, but this one struck me hard to learn it was killed. I was especially surprised of the dissatisfaction of the Republican members of the committee who didn’t go along with PI’ing the bill. This doesn’t normal happen. The “fast, free, and covid19 related” criteria is 2/3. I feel that this bill is relevant to what’s happening outside the Capitol which adds to the bill’s importance.

“Black trans women are murdered at an alarmingly disproportionate rate compared to any other group. It was this group I was thinking about when I thought about this bill. Black trans women have very little representation in elected office. I can count on one hand the folks I’m aware of. Two represent Minneapolis, MN, VP of Council Andrea Jenkins and Councilperson Phillipe Cunningham. At the state level, there are only 4 out trans legislators, all of which are white. Black trans women need us to lift up their voices. For decades this hasn’t been happening. Now that they at least have trans representation, we can focus on the needs of the trans community.

“You may also recall during the protests in Minnesota, a black trans woman, Iyanna Dior, was violently assaulted as most people just watched. This is an example of the kind of violence this group experiences. While the law in question would protect all LGBTQ people, like as in the Matthew Shepherd case, the relevance to the BLM movement is really on black trans women.

“At this time there hasn’t been a commitment to revive the bill. House leadership is aware of the request and the sentiment among members to bring it back, but it has not been acted on.”

This morning, One Colorado issued a media release saying the bill was revived last evening as SB20-221.

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