Transgender rights bill passes key hurdle in Maryland

We have exciting news out of Maryland this week –  the Fairness for All Marylanders Act just passed a key hurdle by being voted out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee by an amazing 8-3 vote.  This bill would add explicit protections on the basis of gender identity to Maryland’s non-discrimination laws, making Maryland the 18th state to have such protections, and leaving only three states in the country that have sexual orientation but not gender identity state-wide non-discrimination protections.

The bill is expected to pass in the Maryland Senate. Efforts will now focus on the House bill, which has 61 co-sponsors with 71 votes needed to pass.

Patrick Paschall speaking at the rally. Photo by Steve Charing

Patrick Paschall speaking at the Fairness for All Marylanders Act rally. Photo by Steve Charing

The Task Force has been a proud partner with Equality Maryland and the Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality to work for a statewide trans-inclusive non-discrimination law. Our own Patrick Paschall spoke at the Fairness for All Marylanders Act Rally on Monday, and called for an end to discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and other areas.

The Task Force has been deeply engaged in working to secure full legal protections for transgender people in Maryland.  In December, the Hyattsville City Council passed a local version of the bill, becoming the first city in Prince George’s County, and only the fifth jurisdiction in the state of Maryland to add explicit protections for transgender people to their laws.  The Task Force provided technical assistance in drafting the law, and Senior Policy Counsel Patrick Paschall who is also a Council Member on the Hyattsville City Council introduced the measure last fall.  The bill passed unanimously on December 2nd.

This effort has been a springboard for raising the profile of the issue in Maryland. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act now heads to the House of Delegates for a hearing on March 5th, where the Task Force will testify in support of the bill.