This afternoon, the Maryland House passed by an 82-57 vote a landmark trans rights bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. This measure will update state nondiscrimination law and outlaw discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations on the basis of gender identity and expression.
The bill passed the Senate in March and now heads to the desk of Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley, who has promised to sign it into law.
Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality reacted, via press release:
"With each new state joining the side of fairness and equality, we move closer to explicitly banning job discrimination against transgender people nationwide. After years of advocacy and organizing in Annapolis, Maryland's choice to stand behind transgender people is a reminder to our elected officials on Capitol Hill that it's overdue for them to take action on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act."
Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, adds:
"This is an enormous victory in the long struggle to end discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Marylanders are against discrimination because of who you are and who you love -- and they now have a law that fully reflects this strongly held value. What happened in Maryland will be an inspiration to millions who yearn for a day when our nation is free from the scourge of discrimination in all its forms. Today's victory is also the culmination of many years of hard work -- building support from the grassroots up, moving hearts and minds, and securing the votes for passage. It would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Equality Maryland and Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality. We would also like to thank those members and leaders in the Maryland House and Senate who worked so hard to advance and pass this legislation. We now look forward to Governor O'Malley's expected signature."
Once Governor O'Malley signs the Fairness for All Marylanders Act into law, Maryland will become the 18th state, plus the District of Columbia, to ban transgender discrimination.