Press

Action Alert! Maryland Hate Crimes Penalties Act

Date: 
March 24, 2004

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

Following is an action alert that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is forwarding to our Maryland members on behalf of our friends at Equality Maryland. Last week, Lisa Mottet, the Task Force legislative lawyer for the Transgender Civil Rights Project testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the Task Force had previously assisted in providing legislative language analysis for the bill. For more information on the Task Force Transgender Civil Rights Project, log on to http://www.TheTaskForce.org/statelocal/transgender.htm

Please take action immediately. Call members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee today and urge them to pass Senate Bill 698, the Hate Crimes Penalties Act, WITHOUT AMENDMENTS.

The Hate Crimes Penalties Act adds actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the state's existing hate crimes statute, in place since 1988. There is a possibility that a member of this committee will introduce an amendment to strip gender identity or expression from the bill. This is unacceptable. The transgender community is disproportionately victim of hate crimes and needs protection under the state's hate-crimes laws.

Equality Maryland cannot support the Hate Crimes Penalties Act unless the entire LGBT community is included in this legislation. Please let the Senators below know that the LGBT community in Maryland speaks with one, united voice, and that no member of our community will be shut out as we seek equality under the law.

For more information on the bill, visit: http://equalitymaryland.org/legislative.htm

Talking points and contact information for committee members is below.

Talking Points on Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes: The year 2003 has been the most deadly on record for transgender people, with more victims of anti-transgender killings reported this year than in any year prior. Some people who assault transgender people do not see their victims as fully human.

As transgender people are becoming more visible, the community is becoming a bigger target.

Fear of being attacked runs rampant in the transgender community, so much so that just walking down the street or going to the store  which most Marylanders take for granted  can be a risky proposition for an entire segment of our population.

In our own backyard, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore have experienced particularly high rates of anti-transgender violence over the past year. Although not widely reported, eight transgender women in Baltimore in the past year have been murdered due to hate violence, sending a collective shock throughout the transgender community. Many more individuals have been singled out for attacks by those who are threatened by non-conformist identities/appearances.

Sexual orientation is insufficient to cover anti-transgender hate crimes. The term "gender identity or expression" is needed so that prosecutors may bring charges and can get convictions when anti-transgender hate crimes are committed in our communities.

KEY TARGET VOTES ON THE SENATE JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS COMMITTEE (HAVING ONE'S NAME ON THIS LIST DOES NOT DENOTE OPPOSITION TO THE LEGISLATION, BUT PLEASE REINFORCE THE MESSAGE OF LGBT UNITY TO EACH OF THESE MEMBERS NONETHELESS)

Brian E. Frosh, Chair
Democrat, District 16, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3124, (301) 858-3124
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3124 (toll free)
e-mail: brian_frosh@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3102, (301) 858-3102

Leo E. Green, Vice-Chair
(410) 841-3631, (301) 858-3631
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3631 (toll free)
e-mail: leo_green@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3174, (301) 858-3174

James Brochin
Democrat, District 42, Baltimore County
(410) 841-3648, (301) 858-3648
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3648 (toll free)
e-mail: jim_brochin@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3643, (301) 858-3643

Jennie M. Forehand
Democrat, District 17, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3134, (301) 858-3134
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3134 (toll free)
e-mail: jennie_forehand@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3665, (301) 858-3665

Robert J. Garagiola
Democrat, District 15, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3169, (301) 858-3169
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3169 (toll free)
e-mail: rob_garagiola@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3607, (301) 858-3607

John A. Giannetti, Jr.
Democrat, District 21, Anne Arundel & Prince George's Counties
(410) 841-3141, (301) 858-3141
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3141 (toll free)
e-mail: john_giannetti@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3195, (301) 858-3195

Ralph M. Hughes
Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3656, (301) 858-3656
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3656 (toll free)
e-mail: ralph_hughes@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3738, (301) 858-3738

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.