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Md. senate panel hears testimony on bill to ban anti-transgender discrimination

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland Senate panel on Tuesday heard testimony on a proposal to ban anti-transgender discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

Maryland state capitol in Annapolis.

Maryland state capitol in Annapolis.

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.

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