Editors' note: Nan D. Hunter is a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. Her scholarship focuses on health law and state regulation of gender and sexuality. She's the author of Sexuality, Gender and the Law, and blogs at Hunter of Justice.
Maryland's highest court ruled yesterday that the initiative to repeal the portion of a county law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity could not go forward on this year's ballot. Legally, the ruling (which has not yet been published) appears to have been based on technical aspects of election law - whether the proponents collected enough valid signatures (no) and whether opponents met the deadline for challenging the proposal (yes).
Politically, however, this is huge. It allows the law to go into effect, so that if conservatives seeking to challenge it try again in the next election cycle, they will be seeking to repeal a provision which has caused no problems, rather than being able to use the scare tactics that have characterized their arguments. The chances of voters rejecting the repeal initiative should get better with time.