ANNAPOLIS — A bill barring discrimination against transgender individuals in public establishments, housing and employment cleared the Maryland Senate on Tuesday with the backing of one Frederick County lawmaker and opposition from another.

The bill gained safe passage through the chamber with support from 32 lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Young. Sen. David Brinkley joined 10 other Republicans and four Democrats in voting against the bill.

Young, D-District 3, said he voted for the measure as the next step in seeking equal treatment for all Marylanders.

Brinkley, R-District 4, said he doesn’t view the bill as a matter of fairness and doesn’t see the need for it. 

“I just don’t see that it’s a big, burning problem,” he said.

But Brian Walker, board chairman for a Frederick organization that provides services to the gay and transgender community, said there is significant interest in the proposal, noting that numerous people testified in support of the bill.

Under the proposal, places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, theaters or retail establishments, could not refuse to accommodate transgender individuals. 

“It’s a great step forward for the state,” said Walker, of The Frederick Center. “It’s great to eliminate another class of discrimination.”

State analysts have reported that at least 17 other states and the District of Columbia have outlawed discrimination based on gender identity. Montgomery, Baltimore and Howard counties and Baltimore city have approved similar measures, according to the analysis.

Sen. Jamie Raskin said the bill’s definition of gender identity is carefully written to prevent its misuse.

To qualify for the bill’s proposed protections, a person must consistently and uniformly demonstrate a gender as a “sincerely held” part of his or her core identity, the legislation states. 

“We want this to be a sincere, authentic change,” Raskin, D-Montgomery, said before the vote. “We don’t want nontransgender people to be taking advantage of our laws.”

The bill would give transgender people legal protection to use restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity when in a place of public accommodation or employment, Raskin said.

However, the legislation sponsored by Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery, would allow public establishments to offer alternative private spaces for transgender individuals.

Brinkley said he is concerned that the proposal will burden businesses with the need to provide these alternative accommodations.

“To many people, one of their biggest things might be just making sure that there’s clean bathrooms, much less that there’s a third bathroom,” Brinkley said.

The legislation would also prohibit businesses from denying service to transgender individuals. In addition, it would protect against discriminatory housing and employment practices based on gender identity. However, it gives employers the ability to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards. 

The bill also includes exemptions for religious institutions, Raskin said. 

Now that the legislation has passed the Senate, it will head to the House.

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(23) comments

Queen Lee
Queen Lee

I am very disturbed by most of your comments I don't know whether it's negligence or lack of information. First of all, a Trans*woman to be specific, is not just a man who dresses like a woman, but a female born into the male body. That means they feel, act and wish to be accepted as women, because that is what and who they are. In cases like this, just to further clarify the issue, I like giving a little scenario, imagine, going to bed one night being the sex you are were born in, with your emotions, feelings and gender roles, then waking up the next morning, look in the mirror and find that your sex has changed. You still feel the same way, wish to follow the same gender roles except the fact that you are now in the different body and unfortunately no one understands you. How would you feel? which toilet would you rather use? would you want to continue living? this is exactly how a transgender feels, except that they have been feeling that way since God knows when, and you, the society continues to torture them...for what? I am not a transgender person, I am just like most of you "normal" I suppose, but I believe in fair rights for everyone, I believe in empathy and I believe in tolerance and atleast an attempt to give everyone a chance.

Arcticdc5
Arcticdc5

Endorsed by Ron Young - enough said...

srpez2
srpez2

Really? This is the BEST thing our representative has to discuss in Annapolis. Maybe it's time to call this session closed.

Arcticdc5
Arcticdc5

Ron Young stands behind it. Enough said already...

So let me get this straight. If this bill gets signed into law, I can go to the gym, go into the female bathroom to shower, hang out, and it’s not illegal as long as I'm having a problem identifying my gender at the time? I mean, how are the cops going to handle this one? Essentially there is no such thing as a “peeping Tom” in bathrooms or other public gender specific places anymore as long as Tom can identify as Tammy when asked.

And what do I do as a parent? Follow my daughter into the bathroom to protect them from some twisted individual that decides to take advantage of the law - and take advantage of my daughter in the process?

And what about the additional and undue burdens that this places on MD businesses? This piece of legislation is almost as bad as the gun bill that Ron Young also supported.

KellyAlzan
KellyAlzan

you don't have to watch them go to the bathroom

Great. Now I've got to follow my daughter into the ladies room for fear that some twisted male is going to take advantage of this legislation, and take advantage of her. Not only is this a solution in search of a problem, but it creates a huge burden on parents and business alike and will no doubt result in a legal and ethical morass.

Ron Young must GO!

ballenger-creek-golfer
ballenger-creek-golfer

What is the difference between you following your daughter into the ladies room for fear that some twisted male is going to take advantage of this legislation, and take advantage of her and me following my son into the mens room for fear that a twisted man will take advantage of my son?

RIGHTonline
RIGHTonline

Not really too amazing that this movement, and the people who it represents, have graduated immensely from seeking "tolerence", to insisting that their choices be EMBRACED by society. It's a shame how our politicians are caving to this nonsense out of fear that voting their moral convictions may damage their political careers.It's just the "do what feels good" atmosphere that the Liberals in this country are sowing...and FORCING down the throats of others who don't agree with or accept such immoral and unnatural lifestyle choices of a small part of our society.

Linganore Native
Linganore Native

If a man wants to look like a women it is their choice. I personally don't get why they would, but it is a free country right? You don't get to pick and choose peoples freedoms. Like many from the tea party say: read the constitution, pretty sure everyone is to be treated equally and fairly. So yes, you have to accept their lifestyle choices as long as they abide by the law.

cindy62060
cindy62060

So, if a woman and her 10 year old daughter are in the locker room at the Y and a man who identifies as a woman comes out of the shower nude, what happens to the woman and child's rights? Or do they no longer have rights?

Linganore Native
Linganore Native

I was reffering to rightonlines comment: "others who don't agree with or accept such immoral and unnatural lifestyles." That is disrespectful to people who are differant than them. I accept all walks of life, we are all equal human beings. When did i say anything about men walking into bathrooms??

I don't think a man dressed as a woman should be able to go into a womans bathroom, but i do believe they should be treated with respect like all other people.

FredFred
FredFred

Riiight - it is only your "morals" or "approved choices" that should be tolerated, eh?

squibmyer
squibmyer

I am a huge proponent of equality however, I have an issue with this:
"The bill would give transgender people legal protection to use restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity when in a place of public accommodation or employment, Raskin said."

Raskin (as well as others) don't seem to understand there is a difference between actual sex (meaning male or female) vs. gender identity (the gender they most closely associate with).

I think a person's use of public restrooms or locker rooms should be consistent with the person's sex, not their gender identity. In other words, a person should go where their existing "equipment" dictates.

KellyAlzan
KellyAlzan

being Raskin is from the DC area, I think he knows what he's talking about

squibmyer
squibmyer

What does being from the DC area have to do with knowing that there is a difference between sex and gender identity?

My issue isn't with extending rights to those who are transgender. That, I'm all for. But there are limits to most rights, regardless if they are those held by transgender or those held by non-transgender people.

As any woman knows, we tend to have fewer places to go in a women's room than in the men's room. I think if you have the equipment to use a urinal, you should use the men's room, regardless of what gender you identify with.

squibmyer
squibmyer

What does being from the DC area have to with anything?

As most women know, we usually have fewer facilities in bathrooms than men, so if you have the equipment to use a urinal, you should use the men's room regardless of which gender you identify with.

squibmyer
squibmyer

This is a duplicate post, kind of... When I came back to the page, my original response was not showing so I re-typed what I could remember, thinking they had removed the post for some reason.

#BringBackTheForums

elphabathropp
elphabathropp

You make a good point and I must agree.

chrisafrazier
chrisafrazier

Why is it that I have to endure the burden of making a sexually confused individual feel better about themselves by allowing them to utilize the same bathroom and/or shower facilities as myself or my children? The liberal mindset is such that I am labelled a discriminator even as my NATURAL rights are violated and discriminated against.

elphabathropp
elphabathropp

Many of us have often been labeled that way when it simply is not true. I have the sincere compassion for these folks, but do not feel comfortable sharing public restrooms or locker rooms with folks of the opposite sex.

chrisafrazier
chrisafrazier

Right or wrong, I have neither compassion nor tolerance for the choices that they make (yep, CHOICE). I don't expect any compassion or tolerance from them for the choices that I make. My choices, my responsibility. I do not, however, assert my choices as rights and I do not attempt to have society bend and crumble just to accommodate my choices. This is NOT an issue of respect or tolerance. This is an issue of safety and decency. At the end of the day, you can bet that the people pushing this asinine legislation will not allow THEIR children to share facilities with members of the opposite sex regardless of what they say for the sound bites. It's no different than the Governor telling me that I don't need personal protection while he slips into Trooper 1 with a fully armed cop. No different at all.

xroads1213
xroads1213

We really shouldn't have to have such a bill but there are still people who think everyone is not equal and does not necessarily have the same rights as everyone else.

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