Thursday, March 06, 2014

Maryland Trans Rights Bill Passes Senate

If you peruse my posts from the early part of 2011, you'll note a series of them in which I was part of a coalition of trans Marylanders and trans activists from different parts of the country working to get the word out and kill an unjust, unpopular and bad trans rights bill that didn't have public accommodations language in it.

HB 235 died a contentious, painful public death, and I gleefully celebrated it.     I hated being put in the position where I had to work to kill a needed trans rights bill, but killing a bad bill is better than letting it pass just so you and a organization can trumpet it as a legislative win.

Isn't that right, Massachusetts?  I also pointed out in the wake of that convoluted Maryland legislative mess the whole jacked up situation didn't have to happen .

It's now three years later.  Since then the states of Nevada, Connecticut, Massachusetts* and neighboring Delaware have passed statewide laws banning discrimination against trans people.  Baltimore and Howard counties have now joined Baltimore City (2002) and Montgomery County (2007) in barring discrimination based on gender identity.   Several other Maryland cities are also contemplating passing similar laws but unlike the gay and lesbian statewide we were cut out of in 2002, there is still no statewide anti-discrimination law in Maryland.

That might be about to change. 

Maryland is halfway down the legislative road to becoming the 18th state plus the District of Columbia to having a statewide law banning discrimination against trans* people.. 

On Tuesday the Maryland Senate voted 32-15 to pass the long overdue Fairness For All Marylanders Act, which would expand Maryland's anti-discrimination laws to protect transgender people in employment, housing, access to credit and public accommodations.

The bill now goes to the Maryland House of Delegates and if it is approved there, will go to Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) desk for his signature. 

There's still a lot of work to do before we can definitively add Maryland to that distinguished list of states that protect the human rights of their trans citizens, and it's past time for it to happen there.

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