Yesterday Maryland’s only openly gay senator, Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery), provided a statement to Metro Weekly regarding the Senate sending the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235 back to the committee yesterday, therefore defeating the unjust bill. If passed, the bill would have made Maryland’s transsexual and transgender residents 2nd class citizens in the area of public accommodations. Human rights activists and transsexual and transgender groups rallied against the bill, demanding the bill either be amended to include these lifesaving protections, or be killed. Thankfully, the bill was denied a chance to spread it’s dehumanizing message that transsexual and transgender people are ‘less then’.
In Sen. Madaleno’s statement he said, “…Before next session, I will pre-file a new version of the Gender Identity Antidiscrimination Act that includes provisions for housing and employment, as well as public accommodations in the hope it can receive a full debate and vote in the Senate before the last day of the session.”
This is great news! Senator Madaleno has listened to the public outcry of the transsexual and transgender communities who have expressed that we will not accept unequal treatment under the law. This is a man of integrity and merit. We will accept nothing less then a fully comprehensive bill.
Senator Madaleno’s full statement:
After an overwhelming vote in favor of HB 235 by the House of Delegates, this bill was inappropriately referred to the Senate Rules Committee, which delayed action for nearly a week. After successful votes in the Rules Committee and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, the full Senate never had an opportunity to debate this issue because of today’s vote to recommit.
The Senate's action today means that transgender individuals in Maryland will continue to be denied housing on the basis of their gender identity. Every homeless transgender person that dies on the street will do so because of the Senate’s failure to pass HB 235. Every transgender individual who cannot provide for themselves or their family because they are denied employment based on their gender identity will do so because of the Senate's failure to pass HB 235.
I remain firmly committed to seeing this landmark civil rights legislation pass the Maryland General Assembly. Before next session, I will pre-file a new version of the Gender Identity Antidiscrimination Act that includes provisions for housing and employment, as well as public accommodations in the hope it can receive a full debate and vote in the Senate before the last day of the session