Thursday, May 15, 2014



Annapolis- Today, Governor Martin O'Malley capped off an over 18 year struggle to finally add gender identity as a protected class in Title XX of the Code of Maryland Regulation. At a bill signing held this morning, the governor executed the Fairness for All Marylanders Act into law. The law will go into effect and become enforceable on October 1, 2014. Cleveland Horton, Executive Director of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights has already pledged to fully and with vigor process all claims to ensure complete compliance statewide.

This particular bill, The Fairness for All Marylanders Act was first introduced in 2013. However, the current lead sponsor of SB212, Senator Rich Madaleno, first sponsored a senate bill quite similar as early at 2007, his first year in the senate. 

Prior to that,and starting in 1996 with House Bill 325, there were three legislative sessions, 1996, 1999, and 2000 in which a bill was introduced each session to protect trans Marylanders. It was in 2001 that gender identity was dropped from the language(while retaining the then unprotected class of sexual orientation) as a result of misleading understanding of case law, and on the false assertion that transgender Marylanders were already covered.

TransMaryland is a founding steering committee member of the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality, the statewide transgender lead coalition which planned and implemented the extensive legislative campaign to pass the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. We are extremely honored to have worked in conjunction with over 50 affiliated organizations as part of that large coalition.

The Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality launched the #StandForFairness campaign in early April, just after SB212 passed the House of Delegates, its last legislative hurdle before today's signing. After a particularly offensive campaign to distort the truth about SB212, MCTE set out to educate the public on the facts. Shortly there after,, a conservative right wing group formed to circumvent the established petition signature collecting process, announced their efforts to recall SB212. What remains a largely online process, they must collect over 18,000 validated signatures before June 1 in order to trigger and additional 30 days to collect the remaining approximately 37,000 validated signature.

Unlike past petition drives, like the one for the DREAM Act in 2012, 71% of Marylanders support the Fairness for All Marylanders Act according to a recent Goucher poll. TransMaryland is confident that the current education campaign, intended to set up the successful implementation of this law, will assist community members in delivering the facts about the law, and assure less folks would be likely to be misinformed by

TransMaryland expects near complete compliance from employers, providers of public accommodations, and those offering housing to the public. We understand there may yet be a few "bad apples" that this law will provide redress for those aggrieved.

As the deadline for signature submissions passes, expect to hear more in your part of the state on what this law means for you, and how to assert your rights, should a "bad apple" act improperly.

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