Vermont Gov. Phil Scott Signs Bill to Ban Trans Panic Defense

It was a glorious day Wednesday in Vermont as Republican Governor Phil Scott signed a bipartisan bill banning gay and trans panic defense. The bill cosponsored by first term trans woman Representative Taylor Small and veteran Representative Mari Cordes passed nearly unanimously with a vote of 144-1 in the house and 29-0 in the Senate.

Vermont becomes the 14th state to ban the trans panic defense after Virginia became the first southern state to do so with the help of trans woman Danica Roem. In 2020 trans woman Representative Brianna Titone co-sponsored a bill banning the trans panic defense making Colorado the 11th state.

“Today I’m signing h128 an act relating to limiting criminal defenses based on victim identity which many of you may know as the Transpanic defense bill into law,” said Gov. Phil Scott. “With this legislation, Republicans Democrats, and Progressives alike send a message to Vermonters that your identity should never be an excuse for someone to cause you harm.”

“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.”

“I want to thank Representative Small and the other co-sponsors of the bill as well as the house and senate judiciary committees for your leadership on this issue.”

“I also want to recognize those at the LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont and the members of the pride center Vermont who’ve been advocating for change and equality for years. While this effort is a step in the right direction we know there is still more work to do to ensure all Vermonters regardless of identity feel safe and protected in our state and I look forward to continuing our work together in the future.”

“So with that,” Gov. Scott said, “I’ll sign the bill and I hope to see folks in person very soon.”

Lavender Ceiling
Representative Small was one of 7 transgender political hopefuls who shattered the Lavender ceiling in 2020.

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