SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press
Thursday, May 19, 2011
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The House of Representatives approved legislation late Thursday that provides protections from gender identity discrimination under Connecticut law.
The bill would include “gender identity or expression” as a protected characteristic along with race, national origin, sex and other attributes under current state law. It now moves to the Senate for further action.
State lawmakers voted 77 to 62 in favor of the bill, following five hours of debate that touched on such issues as employment law and whether pedophiles might be encouraged to misuse the law to track down young girls in women’s restrooms.
Proponents said the legal protections are needed to help a small group of people who’ve experienced discrimination regarding employment and housing matters.
“It is a reality, and there are members of our community who face this crisis in their own lives and all we’re doing tonight is saying that it’s not our place as a society to discriminate against those people. It’s not our place as a majority of the population to decide that they are not entitled to the same rights and privileges that the rest of us enjoy,” said House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden.
But much of the debate focused on the potential for people to abuse the legislation.