Trans Rights Top Maryland Activists’ ”To-Do” List

From Metro Weekly:

Many organizations hoping 2013 session will see the General Assembly pass a gender-identity nondiscrimination bill

By John Riley
Published on January 13, 2013

If the third time wasn’t quite the charm, maybe the seventh time will be, with some of Maryland’s LGBT community leaders hopeful that 2013 will be the year a gender-identity nondiscrimination bill finally passes the General Assembly. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), a longtime LGBT ally, is expected to sign such a measure – prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression in housing, employment and credit – should it pass the General Assembly.

Just two months after Marylanders voted to uphold the law granting same-sex couples access to state marriage licenses, LGBT-equality advocates now see few roadblocks stopping their progress in the General Assembly, which started its 90-day 2013 session Jan. 9.

Carrie Evans, executive director Equality Maryland, the state’s primary LGBT-rights organization, says Maryland Senate President Thomas V. ”Mike” Miller (D-Calvert, Prince George’s counties) seems open to allowing the gender-identity bill, introduced in various forms since 2007, to move forward in the upper chamber.

A similar measure, HB 235, passed the House of Delegates in 2011 by an 86-52 vote before being voted back to committee by the Senate, effectively killing it.

Evans expects a hearing on the bill within 30 days, as she’s hoping the measure will pass the Senate before the upper chamber begins debating other issues such as a proposed assault-weapons ban, repeal of the death penalty and budget issues.

”We don’t want to get lost in the mix,” says Evans.

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