On a second try this session, legislative Democrats and Republicans passed a bill that takes away "panic" as a defense against assaulting a gay or transgender person.
Senate Bill 221 passed the House 63-1 Friday and now moves to Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado's first gay governor, to become law.
The bill replaced House Bill 1307, which stalled out earlier in the session.
“This is a unique bill — not only because of its uncommon journey through the legislative process, but because most people we spoke to along the way were shocked that this bill was even necessary," Daniel Ramos of One Colorado said in a statement Friday. "It’s hard to believe that right here in Colorado, as recently as last year, violent offenders attempted to use their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a tool to reduce their sentence. We are so grateful for our legislators who never gave up on fighting for justice.”
One Colorado is the state's largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexudal, transgender and queer Coloradans and their family.
The renewed legislation was sponsored by Reps. Brianna Titone, a Democrat from Arvada and the state's first transgender legislator, and Rep. Matt Soper, a Republican from Delta. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Dominick Moreno, a Democrat from Commerce City; Jack Tate, a Republican from Centennial; and Jessie Danielson, a Democrat form Wheat Ridge.
The bill was introduced on Tuesday.
Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver was one of the co-sponsors of the previous version of the bill. Herod is the legislature's first black openly lesbian legislator and chairs the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus.
"Gay and transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, have been targets of violent crimes and their murders have been excused," Herod said in a statement Friday. "We need to do everything in our power to end these vicious attacks. Banning the gay and trans panic defense sends a message that hatred and bigotry are grounds for further punishment, not excuses for violent crimes.”
Titone called her legislation a "revival bill" and said the support was "unlike anything I have ever seen."
"When I made the decision to reintroduce the bill, I immediately saw strong support from my constituents, the LGBTQ community, and my colleagues in the legislature," she stated. "Everyone deserves justice, especially black trans women. Passing this bill today, on the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub attack, is a fitting symbolic tribute to those we remember today.”