MD Gender Rights Bill Dies
There was broad support for a bill to add gender identity to the state of Maryland's nondiscrimination law, but the bill couldn't get a vote in committee and has now died.
Here is Gender Rights Maryland's report on it, from their web site:
Laurel, MD – March 26, 2012 –– Today marks the crossover date in the Maryland General Assembly for bills to move from one house to the other. It is unfortunate that we cannot report that SB212 is among those in consideration for that process. Unlike efforts last year, SB212 was never put up for a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. There are multiple reasons for why this is the case but for GRMD it comes down to one -- Senate President Miller does not want this bill. It is unfortunate that a single person, despite the will of the people of this state, can decide the fate of so many Marylanders on such life and death matters as the basic civil rights of employment, housing and public accommodation.Since the end of the 2011 legislative session events in Maryland had clearly indicated that there was strong support for this bill. Governor Martin O’Malley had publicly endorsed the measure in response to the prosecution of a hate crime against Chrissy Lee Polis’ attackers in 2011. Polling results show that 63% of Marylanders support civil rights for trans people. And yet we cannot get forward movement in the Maryland Senate.That climate did however bear fruit with those legislators that seem to be more closely in tune with their communities. Howard and Baltimore Counties were brave enough to put forward these civil rights for their residents. GRMD was an integral part of those efforts and we are proud of the addition of gender identity protections for over one million additional Marylanders in 2012. This brings the total coverage to 2.6 million Marylanders. This should be considered remarkable progress considering that momentum in this space has been dormant since 2007. GRMD is proud to have played a strong role along with PFLAG and other allies in moving this legislation to law. Gender Rights Maryland Statement on SB212 and the General Assembly Crossover Date
This is disappointing but not entirely a surprise. There was a great wave of energy supporting the state's marriage equality legislation earlier in the session, and that sort of eclipsed this unrelated measure and drained enthusiasm from it.
There is no reason for the two bills to compete. Democrat Thomas “Mike” Miller, the Maryland Senate president, reportedly said earlier in the year that he only had time “for one gay bill this session,” and so he let this one wither on the vine. I don't know where a principle like that comes from, but there you go, Maryland, the "One Gay Bill" State. Maryland's transgender community will gain their rights county by county in time, and our heroic state legislators will be satisfied to pass "one gay bill" per session.