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Vermont’s GOP Governor Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Ban Gay and Trans ‘Panic’ Defense

Vermont Governor Phil Scott on September 14, 2018 in the Tunbridge World’s Fair in Tunbridge, Vermont.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed legislation Wednesday that prohibits the use of this so-called”gay panic” defense in courts of law.
“With this law, Republicans, Democrats and Progressives alike send a message to Vermonters–your identity should never be an excuse for somebody to cause you harm,” the two-term Republican stated in a message upon signing the historic legislation. “This bill does is ensure that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity can’t be used to defend or justify a criminal act, or lower a sentence.”
The protection is a legal approach used by a defendant on trial for a violent offense where they typically try to supplement a temporary insanity defense by asserting an undesirable improvement from a gay person led them into such a state of rage they admittedly committed a brutal crimeup to and including murder.
A companion strategy called the”trans panic” defense is occasionally employed by defendants who have intercourse or otherwise hook up with a transgender woman, murder or attack them, then claim they were unaware of their sufferer’s transgender status.
Scholars have noted that those strategies have almost completely been used by men from the United States for decades, its use studied and tracked by one researcher from data since 1970, a year following the Stonewall uprising heralded the contemporary LGBTQ rights motion.
Shortly before that era, 1 sexuality researcher wrote in 1967:”Not rarely, so-called homosexuals are killed with impunity in certain European countries and in the United States most particularly, as lately as the past couple of decades ago’
In the past several years, however, some countries have moved to get rid of the defense altogether.
Starting in 2006, California amended its penal code in a little manner that tried to deal with the gay panic defense tangentially, by adding jury instructions which prejudice, sympathy, bias or public opinion could not impact jurors’ choices. A secondary directive was issued to district lawyers that taught them to use the jury instructions with regard to some criminal defendants’ terror defense.
In 2014, California became the first nation to ban the gay and trans terror defenses as a matter of law.
Vermont’s attempts, by H.128, make the Green Mountain State the 14th country to enact such a ban.
The bill has been passed all-but unanimously.
The laws has been co-sponsored by Rep. Mari Cordes, a Democrat who represents Lincoln, and Rep. Taylor Small, a Democrat who represents Winooski and is the only open transgender member of the Vermont House of Representatives.

Vermont has officially become the 14th country to ban the’LGBTQ+ Panic Defense’! Now, I’m grateful for the unanimous support of the Legislative & Executive branches in efficiently passing H.128. Thank you @GovPhilScott for signing on today.
— Taylor Small (@TaylorSmallVT) May 5, 2021

Similar legislation has been or is being considered in many additional countries, but Scott has been praised for being Republican signing the law when other state politicians in his celebration have passed numerous anti-transgender legislation.
“While that effort is a step in the perfect direction, we understand there is still additional work to do to make sure all Vermonters, no matter individuality, feel safe and secure in this nation,” the governor added in his speech devoting the bill’s sponsors.
“So reassuring to hear him as an Republican [governor] name and celebrate #VT’s first publicly scripted legislator,” tweeted Vermont State Sen. Kesha Ram, a Democrat who represents Chittenden County. “Trans visibility issues.”
[picture via DON EMMERT/AFP through Getty Images]The article Vermont’s GOP Governor Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Ban Gay and Trans’Panic’ Defense first emerged Law & Crime.