Thursday, March 27, 2014

FAIRNESS FOR ALL MARYLANDERS PASSES








FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2014


Contacts:
Carrie Evans, Executive Director

443-514-4999 or carrie@equalitymaryland.org


Keith Thirion, Director of Advocacy & Programs


ANNAPOLIS- In a big win for transgender equality in Maryland, today the Maryland House of Delegates passed SB 212: Fairness for All Marylanders Act with a vote of XX-XX. The bill, previously passed by the Senate in an overwhelming 32-15 vote, updates Maryland’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people. This ensures that everyone is free to work for a living, secure housing, and get served lunch at a restaurant regardless of gender identity.


The Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality, a coalition of more than 50 organizations and individuals working to advance civil rights for transgender Marylanders, hailed the victory as the culmination of many years of work by the transgender community and allies. The Coalition praised bill sponsors Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Luke Clippinger for their hard work and thanked them for their leadership.


“I am proud of my 81 colleagues who voted in support of fairness for transgender Marylanders today. Allowing people to earn a living and live without fear of discrimination is the right thing to do,” said House sponsor Delegate Luke Clippinger.


Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland, the state’s civil rights organization for LGBT Marylanders comments on Senate Bill 212’s passage, “This is the culmination of a very long and sustained effort by Equality Maryland to ensure transgender Marylanders are included in our state’s anti-discrimination laws. Today’s win is the result of so many people and organizations – transgender individuals and their families showing up and telling their stories year after year, elected officials like Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Bonnie Cullison and Joseline Peña-Melynk , many years of dedicated and committed Equality Maryland Board and staff, amazing coalition partners like the Human Rights Campaign and so many more people and organizations that we will highlight in the coming months.”


SB 212 now goes to Governor O’Malley, who is expected to sign the bill into law.


"After more than 15 years of advocacy for trans Marylanders, the tremendous work by all of our legislative champions, and the solid support of the leadership in Annapolis, history was made today. The House of Delegates sent the same loud and clear message the Maryland Senate did: Every Marylander deserves equal rights under the law. We welcome the Governor’s promised signature and the full and successful implementation of this bill," said Jenna Fischetti of TransMaryland, an MCTE coalition member.


“Today the Maryland legislature lived up to its reputation as a fair and just body and rightly recognized that everyone should be treated equally, including transgender Marylanders,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Being free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is what makes America work.”


The passage of SB 212 will give transgender Marylanders legal recourse for discrimination experienced in employment, housing and public places like restaurants and movie theaters.


“Today is a historic day for the great state of Maryland. While the discrimination against people based on their gender identity has certainly not seen its last day, we now have the tool we need in Maryland, to fight back against discrimination when it occurs,” said Aaron Merki, Executive Director of FreeState Legal Project


"It is clear that community and legislators are aligned in providing protections for all Marylanders including those who are transgender. Passing SB 212 will help ensure that transgender people have the same opportunities in employment, housing, and safe public spaces,” said Vann Michael of Black Transmen, Inc. "Passing SB 212 is naturally the next step for Maryland's legislators to demonstrate their commitment to all residents of the state and be a national leader for legislative bodies on how to equally support the full transgender community."


A recent Goucher poll found that 71% of Marylanders supported updating Maryland’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people. A broad array of organizations and individuals have shown support for transgender rights in Maryland, from faith communities to feminist organizations and civil rights groups.


“The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland has joined with the other members of Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality to work for passage of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act in support of our transgender members, friends and family throughout the state,” said Reverend Diane Teichert.


When SB 212 is signed into law, Maryland will join 17 states and the District of Columbia in enacting anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.

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