Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a
Republican, on Wednesday signed a bill into law that bans the use of
the so-called gay and transgender panic defense in criminal trials.
Vermont is the 13th state
plus the District of Columbia with such a law.
Criminal defendants who use the
controversial defense claim that a violent act was triggered by the
revelation of a victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation or
Scott posted on YouTube remarks he made
before signing the bill, titled An Act Relating to Limiting
Criminal Defenses Based on Victim Identity.
“With this legislation, Republicans,
Democrats and Progressives alike sent a message to Vermonters, that
your identity should never be an excuse for someone to cause you
harm,” Scott said.
“What this bill does is make sure a
victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity can’t be used to
defend or justify a criminal act, or to lower a sentence,” he
Similar laws have been enacted in the
District of Columbia and 12 states, including Virginia, Washington,
New Jersey, New York, California, Hawaii, Colorado, Connecticut,
Maine, Illinois, Nevada, and Rhode Island. A bill in Maryland awaits
the governor's signature.