Maryland’s gender anti-discrimination bill HB 235 was successfully voted out of the House Health & Government Operations Committee by a vote of 15-8.  Next stop, debate on the floor of the House of Delegates.  The bill must be approved by the House by midnight on Monday, March 28th to remain eligible for Senate consideration and final approval.

In a press release from Equality Maryland:


MARYLAND TAKES A STEP TOWARD FAIRNESS WITH HOUSE COMMITTEE’S PASSAGE OF BILL TO PREVENT EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

Equality Maryland vows to keep the fight to ensure that all Marylanders are treated with dignity and respect

Annapolis, Maryland, March 24, 2011 – Today the House Health & Government Operations Committee in Annapolis voted 15-8 in favor of sending House Bill 235 – the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act – to the house floor for consideration by the full House of Delegates.

House Bill 235 would add gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws in the area of employment, housing, and credit.  The subcommittee approved a few non-substantive amendments which the lead sponsor, Equality Maryland, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force all found them to be relatively inconsequential. They committee also modified the definition of gender identity within the bill. This definition will provide protection both for a person’s gender identity, as well as the way in which they express their gender in terms of presentation.  Equality Maryland worked with the subcommittee and committee to ensure that both areas would be covered under the bill’s definition.

Lead Sponsor, Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk: “Every Marylander should expect to work or live in comfortable housing without fear of losing either because of who they are.  HB 235 provides the protection necessary to make sure that every Marylander can live without fear of discrimination.”

Lead Sponsor, Del. Ariana Kelly: “Transgender Marylanders face profound and often crippling discrimination in housing and employment. This bill [HB 235] is an important step towards mitigating this unjust discrimination. It will improve people’s lives, and it is clearly the right thing to do.

Equality Maryland, Executive Director, Morgan Meneses-Sheets: “All hardworking people in our state, including transgender people, should have a chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.  Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

Discrimination happens a lot in Maryland.  Data shows that 1 in 5 transgender people in Maryland have lost a job because they are transgender, and 12% have become homeless. This law is a matter of life-or-death for some Marylanders.”

Equality Maryland’s action email is below the fold.

Update: Reaction from The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force is below.  Others added as they come in.

Update 2: Here is how members of the House Health & Government Operations Committee voted on HB 235:

Yes: (by District)

   * Peter Hammen (D-46 )

   * Shane Pendergrass (D- 13)

   * Eric M Bromwell (D-8)

   * Bonnie Cullison (D-19)

   * Robert Costa (D- 33B)

   * James Hubbard (D-23A)

   * Ariana Kelly (D- 16)

   * Dan Morhaim (D – 11)

   * Peter Murphy (D-28)

   * Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D-10)

   * Nathaniel Oaks (D- 41)

   * Joseline Pena-Melynk (D-21)

   * Kirill Reznik (D-39)

   * Shawn Tarrant (D-40)

   * Veronica Turner (D-26)

No: (by District)

   * John Donoghue (D- 2C)

   * Donald Elliott (D-4B)

   * William Frank (D-42)

   * A. Wade Kach (D-5B)

   * Nic Kipke (D- 31)

   * Susan Krebs (D-9B)

   * Patrick McDonough (D-7)

   * Justin Ready (D-5A)

Update3:  This just in from Equality Maryland:

GENDER IDENTITY PROTECTIONS OVERCOME FIRST MAJOR HURDLE

Equality Maryland: “We remain hopeful that HB 235 will move successfully through the House and onto the Senate”

Annapolis, Maryland, March 25  – The House of Delegates heard the second reading of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (House Bill 235) today, and voted to send it to third reading. The third and final vote is tentatively scheduled for Saturday. If approved by the House on third reading, the bill will move to the Senate for debate.  The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, adds anti-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity for employment, housing, and credit.

Equality Maryland, Executive Director, Morgan Meneses-Sheets: “In debate on second reader on HB 235, the House of Delegates showed that discrimination against transgender Marylanders is unjust and will not be tolerated in the Free State. Floor debate was relatively subdued, due in large part, to the calm and cogent leadership of Del. Dan Morhaim (Democrat, District 11), and we thank him for his commitment to ending discrimination. We are hopeful that this important piece of legislation – that provides vital protections on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment and credit – will move successfully through the House and onto the Senate.”


Earlier today, the Health & Government Operations Committee (HGO) passed House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act by a vote of 15 to 8. The bill will now move to the House floor. This is an exciting victory for the transgender community and for all citizens who value fairness.  

We need your help to keep this bill moving and we don’t have much time.  The deadline to pass bills out of the House is Monday, March 28th. Will you contact your Delegate today?

CLICK HERE to contact your delegates and urge them to support HB 235!

With today’s action, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act is poised for success in the House and a swift move to the Senate floor.  The passage of this legislation is critical for transgender Marylanders who need the state to take a first step in adding these vital protections to housing and employment this year.  

Lurleen, I want to reassure you that Equality Maryland is committed to ending discrimination against the transgender community, and to continuing the fight for other critical needs such as protections in public accommodations.

Will you stand with us in fighting for equal treatment of transgender Marylanders?

CLICK HERE to contact your Delegates now and urge them to vote ‘yes’ on HB 235.

Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender queer or an ally, your voice is essential to our fight for equality. This legislative session has reminded us that our fight for equality isn’t always easy, but we have an opportunity right now to make progress. For Maryland to truly be considered the Free State, we must end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.  Will you contact your delegates today?

Join with me, Lurleen, in working to end discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

Yours in Equality,

Morgan Meneses-Sheets

Executive Director

PS – We have less than a month left in the 2011 legislative session. To truly make an impact, it’s important that more and more Marylanders who believe in LGBT equality to speak out. Will you forward this message onto 5 of your friends?

Response from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:



MEDIA CONTACT:

Inga Sarda-Sorensen

Director of Communications

(Office) 646.358.1463

(Cell) 202.641.5592

isorensen@theTaskForce.org

Maryland House committee passes Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act

WASHINGTON, March 25 – The Maryland House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee today passed the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (HB 235), which would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and credit. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working in partnership with Equality Maryland to pass the bill, which now moves to the full House for a vote.

Lisa Mottet, director of the Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project, testified in favor of the bill during a March 9 committee hearing. She shared data from the recently released groundbreaking report Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force with the National Center for Transgender Equality. This nationwide study included more than 6,400 people in the U.S.

The study found that Maryland transgender and gender non-conforming people were being fired, harassed, passed over for promotion and not hired simply for being who they were. This was not a small problem: 71 percent said they experienced harassment or mistreatment on the job and 18 percent reported losing their job just because of who they are. Likely due to this discrimination, transgender Marylanders experienced poverty (having a household income under $10,000 per year) at nearly three times the national average; 12 percent of transgender Marylanders reported experiencing homelessness; 17 percent said they were denied a home/apartment due to being transgender, and 22 percent reported having to find temporary spaces to stay in an attempt to avoid homelessness.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force



“The startling statistics and heart-wrenching personal stories found in our national survey on transgender discrimination show that this law will literally save lives. Income from employment is critical to paying for shelter, food, health care – basic necessities that many people simply take for granted. No one should fear being jobless, homeless and going hungry because of bias and discrimination. Maryland should provide these basic tenets of equal opportunity to transgender Marylanders, as it already does to many others. We thank the Maryland House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee for passing this important legislation, and urge the full House and Senate to quickly follow suit.”

More about the Task Force’s work in Maryland

The Task Force has been partnering with Equality Maryland by contributing financial support to underwrite the salaries of a field director and a field organizer; committing organizers to work on the ground in Maryland throughout the legislative session; and providing training and technical assistance to Equality Maryland’s field team.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org

and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

From the Maryland Black Family Alliance:

March 25, 2011

The Maryland Black Family Alliance continues to fight for Transgender Rights with the Committee Passage of HB 235



MBFA: “the struggle to find ones identity should never be diminished by discrimination, harassment, or violence.  Discrimination in Maryland comes at a price and is unjust.”




Annapolis, MD, March 25th
–  The Maryland Black Family Alliance applauds the work of Lead Sponsor, Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk for her efforts on passing House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, a bill that will lead to vital protections for Maryland transgender residents in housing, employment and credit. By a vote of 15-8 in large part due to the tremendous leadership of Del. Pena-Melnyk, House Bill 235 will now advance to the House floor where a vote is expected this weekend.

Elbridge James, Executive Director of Maryland Black Family Alliance: “Transgender Marylanders, especially transpeople of color, face significant discrimination, violence, and harassment in almost every aspect of their lives. The struggle to find ones identity should never be diminished by discrimination, harassment, or violence. Discrimination in Maryland comes at a price and is unjust. It’s time for our state to join 12 other states across the country in ending discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

In the report Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, people of color face far worse discrimination and poverty. The report states that ‘discrimination was pervasive throughout the entire sample, yet the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent, structural racism was especially devastating. People of color in general fare worse than white participants across the board, with African American transgender respondents faring worse than all others in many areas examined.’

We celebrate the passage of House Bill 235 out of committee and urge the full House and the state Senate to support this important legislation.”

Maryland’s gender anti-discrimination bill HB 235 was successfully voted out of the House Health & Government Operations Committee by a vote of 15-8.  Next stop, debate on the floor of the House of Delegates.  The bill must be approved by the House by midnight on Monday, March 28th to remain eligible for Senate consideration and final approval.

In a press release from Equality Maryland:


MARYLAND TAKES A STEP TOWARD FAIRNESS WITH HOUSE COMMITTEE’S PASSAGE OF BILL TO PREVENT EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

Equality Maryland vows to keep the fight to ensure that all Marylanders are treated with dignity and respect

Annapolis, Maryland, March 24, 2011 – Today the House Health & Government Operations Committee in Annapolis voted 15-8 in favor of sending House Bill 235 – the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act – to the house floor for consideration by the full House of Delegates.

House Bill 235 would add gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws in the area of employment, housing, and credit.  The subcommittee approved a few non-substantive amendments which the lead sponsor, Equality Maryland, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force all found them to be relatively inconsequential. They committee also modified the definition of gender identity within the bill. This definition will provide protection both for a person’s gender identity, as well as the way in which they express their gender in terms of presentation.  Equality Maryland worked with the subcommittee and committee to ensure that both areas would be covered under the bill’s definition.

Lead Sponsor, Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk: “Every Marylander should expect to work or live in comfortable housing without fear of losing either because of who they are.  HB 235 provides the protection necessary to make sure that every Marylander can live without fear of discrimination.”

Lead Sponsor, Del. Ariana Kelly: “Transgender Marylanders face profound and often crippling discrimination in housing and employment. This bill [HB 235] is an important step towards mitigating this unjust discrimination. It will improve people’s lives, and it is clearly the right thing to do.

Equality Maryland, Executive Director, Morgan Meneses-Sheets: “All hardworking people in our state, including transgender people, should have a chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.  Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

Discrimination happens a lot in Maryland.  Data shows that 1 in 5 transgender people in Maryland have lost a job because they are transgender, and 12% have become homeless. This law is a matter of life-or-death for some Marylanders.”

Equality Maryland’s action email is below the fold.

Update: Reaction from The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force is below.  Others added as they come in.

Update 2: Here is how members of the House Health & Government Operations Committee voted on HB 235:

Yes: (by District)

   * Peter Hammen (D-46 )

   * Shane Pendergrass (D- 13)

   * Eric M Bromwell (D-8)

   * Bonnie Cullison (D-19)

   * Robert Costa (D- 33B)

   * James Hubbard (D-23A)

   * Ariana Kelly (D- 16)

   * Dan Morhaim (D – 11)

   * Peter Murphy (D-28)

   * Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D-10)

   * Nathaniel Oaks (D- 41)

   * Joseline Pena-Melynk (D-21)

   * Kirill Reznik (D-39)

   * Shawn Tarrant (D-40)

   * Veronica Turner (D-26)

No: (by District)

   * John Donoghue (D- 2C)

   * Donald Elliott (D-4B)

   * William Frank (D-42)

   * A. Wade Kach (D-5B)

   * Nic Kipke (D- 31)

   * Susan Krebs (D-9B)

   * Patrick McDonough (D-7)

   * Justin Ready (D-5A)

Update3:  This just in from Equality Maryland:

GENDER IDENTITY PROTECTIONS OVERCOME FIRST MAJOR HURDLE

Equality Maryland: “We remain hopeful that HB 235 will move successfully through the House and onto the Senate”

Annapolis, Maryland, March 25  – The House of Delegates heard the second reading of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (House Bill 235) today, and voted to send it to third reading. The third and final vote is tentatively scheduled for Saturday. If approved by the House on third reading, the bill will move to the Senate for debate.  The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, adds anti-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity for employment, housing, and credit.

Equality Maryland, Executive Director, Morgan Meneses-Sheets: “In debate on second reader on HB 235, the House of Delegates showed that discrimination against transgender Marylanders is unjust and will not be tolerated in the Free State. Floor debate was relatively subdued, due in large part, to the calm and cogent leadership of Del. Dan Morhaim (Democrat, District 11), and we thank him for his commitment to ending discrimination. We are hopeful that this important piece of legislation – that provides vital protections on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment and credit – will move successfully through the House and onto the Senate.”

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Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer

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