The Baltimore Sun reports that the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee heard testimony on the measure, sponsored by Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery County, Md.).
Maryland lawmakers extended anti-discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation in 2001, but conservative religious groups, among others, have objected to expanding the law to cover transgender people.
Sen. Lisa Gladden (D-Baltimore), who supports the bill, said it has been held up in recent years by “the bathroom question.”
Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County), for example, has voted against the bill in committee. He threw out the hypothetical example of a man claiming to be transgender waiting in the women’s restroom to attack, something he thinks shouldn’t be protected as a civil right.
Gov. Martin O’Malley supports the bill, as do all three Democrats running for governor: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County.
The measure has 25 co-sponsors, virtually assuring it has the required 24 votes to pass the Senate if it reaches the floor.