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Maryland Senate Passes Bill To Protect Transgender Rights

The bill would prohibit discriminating against people based on gender identity. An Anne Arundel lawmaker questioned the use of bathrooms in public businesses by transgendered customers.

The bill would prohibit discriminating against people based on gender identity. File|Patch
The bill would prohibit discriminating against people based on gender identity. File|Patch

By ETHAN BARTON

Capital News Service

Transgender individuals are one step closer to receiving protection from anti-discrimination laws after a bill passed in the Maryland Senate Tuesday.

The bill, called the “Fairness for all Marylanders Act of 2014,” would forbid employers, property renters and public businesses from discriminating against individuals based on gender identity. If signed into law, the measure would require businesses such as restaurants or movie theaters to serve transgender individuals.

“Under the current law, there’s no protection for transgender people,” Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, one of the bill’s sponsors, said.

Before the bill passed 32-15, Sen. Bryan W. Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, gave some opposition by asking questions about the use of bathrooms in public businesses.

A man who fits the definition to be identified as a woman “can go into the women’s restroom, whether there are young children, and there’s no provision to stop that,” Simonaire said.

“Transgender people have been going to the bathroom a long time,” Raskin said in an interview. “When these laws pass, very little changes, because most of them are going to the bathroom that is consistent with their gender identity already.”

Simonaire’s reservations notwithstanding, no other senators spoke in opposition to the measure.

Raskin was optimistic that the bill will face little opposition in the House, despite what he called “partisan character” and Simonaire’s pushback.

“The important parts of this are that people should not be fired because they are transgender, should not be kicked out of housing because they are transgender, and the whole question of bathrooms are really a sideshow,” he continued.

A House committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the issue Wednesday.

Bryant March 06, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Pink sweaters aren't "sincere evidence" of gender identity. Again, it would take an investigator 5 minutes to figure out what was going on. Calm down. The boogie man is not out to get you.
Diane in Odenton March 07, 2014 at 10:51 AM
So are transgendered people not permitted to relieve themselves? Don't you think it would cause a bigger disturbance if someone that appears to be a woman were to go into the men's room or vice versa? It sounds as if a bunch of you think transgendered = sexual predator. Ridiculous.
Cal Oren March 07, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Have you - or anyone you know, or have ever heard of - ever had your sex checked before being allowed to use a restroom? I didn't think so. There is absolutely no need for this law. My point is that our society is turning itself inside out trying to protect the "rights" of a very very confused and disturbed few people who can't stand in front of a mirror naked and figure out what sex they are, by forcing the rest of society to play along with their bizarre game of dress-up.
Paul Burkhardt March 19, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Amen Cal, well said
Dennis Gilpin May 15, 2014 at 11:14 PM
Most of us understand how some people grew up confused about their sexual identity. The law ( how it is written ) opens up the possibility that a person can demand to use a bathroom ( of the opposite sex ) by just saying they "think" that they are of that gender. What's to say they are not making a mockery of a law that was badly written. With the elections coming up, those who don't think they were properly represented will have their voice at the polls.

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