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Maryland Senate kills gender identity bill, sends measure back to committee

Monday, April 11, 2011
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The Maryland state Senate on Monday voted to send the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act back to the Judicial Proceedings Committee during the bill’s second reading, effectively killing the bill in this year’s legislative session.

The bill, HB 235, would have prohibited discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and credit. The Senate voted 27-20 to send the bill back to committee.

The vote happened after Sen. James DeGrange (D-Anne Arundel), who was expected to vote against the measure, asked for the bill to be recommitted to committee, reported Metro Weekly.

Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery), the only out LGBT member in the Maryland Senate, provided this statement:

I am extremely disappointed by the Senate’s action today to send HB 235 back to the Judicial Proceedings Committee. The twisted and unfair process HB 235 had to go through to even make it to the Senate floor mars the Senate’s otherwise outstanding work this year. The Senate’s treatment of this legislation will be remembered for a long time by the LGBT community and Marylanders who believe in equal rights for all.

After an overwhelming vote in favor of HB 235 by the House of Delegates, this bill was inappropriately referred to the Senate Rules Committee, which delayed action for nearly a week. After successful votes in the Rules Committee and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, the full Senate never had an opportunity to debate this issue because of today’s vote to recommit.

Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, said she was “shocked and appalled” by the 27 votes in favor of the sending the bill back to committee.

Madaleno said that, before next session, he will pre-file a new version of the Gender Identity Anti-discrimination Act that includes provisions for housing and employment, as well as public accommodations in the hope it can receive a full debate and vote in the Senate before the last day of the session.

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