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Transgender protections bill fails to pass Maryland senate committee

Thursday, March 14, 2013
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A bill that would have prohibited discrimination against transgender Marylanders in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations, failed on Thursday to pass a committee vote.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013, (SB 449) failed by a vote of 5-6 in the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee.

The committee heard testimony on the bill earlier this month from over 40 proponents and about a dozen opponents.

The bill would have added “gender identity” to the law that currently prohibits discrimination base on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, and sexual orientation. Had it passed, the act would have made Maryland the 17th state to provide comprehensive gender identity protections.

“It is terribly disappointing the committee failed to stand up for fairness and protect transgender Marylanders,” said Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland, in an email to LGBTQ Nation on Thursday.

“In the past month more than 300 people visited their legislators in support of this bill. Additionally, more than 400 constituents called their senators on this committee and almost 2,000 constituent letters, petitions and postcards in support of SB 449 were given to the 11 members of the committee,” wrote Evans.

“We are particularly incensed with Senator Jim Brochin’s vote. He had at least 1,000 constituents contact him asking him to support this bill. Despite this, he turned his back on these voters. It ironic that transgender people in his own district (Baltimore County) have protections, yet he wouldn’t cast a vote to extend these protections to individuals in the 20 counties that aren’t so fortunate,” Evans added.

Last month, Senator Richard Madaleno, a co-sponsor of the measure, said, “We are on the verge of this last big victory in Maryland.”

“This legislation came before the Maryland General Assembly 2 years ago, passed the House of Delegates, and went to the Senate floor in the final hours of the Session and did not survive. I am very confident we have the votes in the Senate, if we could just get the bill to the floor,” Madaleno stated.

Evans said the fight “is not over.”

“Equality Maryland will come back every year until transgender Marylanders are afforded the right to be free from discrimination in their jobs, homes, and places of public accommodations,” she said.

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