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HB6599 Passes The Judiciary Committee With No Amendments

After a lengthy debate with the introduction of three amendments, the bill passed the committee without any amendments.

As soon as the co-chair introduced the bill, Rep. Rowe introduced a bathroom amendment. The amendment used the same exemption that the anti-discrimination statute used for sex segregated facilities. Under questioning Rep. Rowe said that their birth gender would determine what bathroom or sleeping area would used by a person. He said that since the CT commission on Human Rights and Opportunities found in 2000 that discrimination against gender identity and expression was sex discrimination, therefore there should be the same exemption in this bill. The debate and vote pretty much followed party lines. The Republicans couldn’t understand why this amendment should be opposed; some said the idea of a “transgedered” person in a bathroom or locker made them feel uncomfortable. Rep. Rowe had the quote of the amendment; he said that this amendment only affected a “Super Dupper Small Minority”. Sen. Bye said this amendment is discriminatory and other Democrats said that the size of the population doesn’t matter, discrimination, is discrimination. While others asked how would a business know if a person had surgery or not. The amendment was defeated 16 Yea – 22 Nay.

The next amendment was introduced Sen. Kissel and the “Teacher” amendment. The amendment allowed a school board to transfer a teacher for grades kindergarten through sixth grade to be temporally while the teachers transition to another job. Once again the Republicans lined up behind the amendment while most of the Democrats were against it. Rep. Morris was an exception, he said he voted for the bill twice in the past, but he was in favor of this amendment. While Sen. Bye said that the same argument was used when sexual orientation was added to the anti-discrimination statutes back in the 90’s… we need to protect the children from gay teachers. It wasn’t true then and it won’t be true now. She also said that at her church they had a panel discussion on trans-people and someone asked the question, where would you be if you didn’t transition and 3 out of the 4 said they would have committed suicide. Sen. Bye also said that she also have pondered what LGB had in common with the T, why were they grouped together and she realized that they all had gender discrimination in common. That LG face a form of gender discrimination. Sen. Myer had the quote of the amendment, when he said that when a teacher transitioned had a “transgender event”. The amendment was defeated 17 Yea – 23 Nay. I have to add, that I believe that Sen. Kissel was looking for the middle ground with this amendment. He could have proposed an amendment that barred transgender teachers all together, but he proposed something that he thought both sides could agree on. However, I see it as the wrong lesson to teach the children, that it is Okay to discriminate and hide people who are not like us.

The last amendment was as I said a strange amendment and it was also proposed by Sen. Kissel. The amendment would increase the penalties for a person who committed a crime disguised as a woman. This amendment seemed like an end run around the first amendment that was proposed. The debated centered on how would you know that the person was only pretending to be transgender, or as they said, “transgendered” is gender identity and expression was self-labeled. They was a question about if a male bank robber dressed as a woman, would he be subjected to the increased sentence – the answer was no because he was not trying to gain access to a sex segregated facility. That answer lead to Rep. Morris question, if a group woman disguised themselves as men to gain entry to an all men’s club to protest, would their sentenced be increased? The sponsor of the bill said yes it would. The amendment was defeated 13 Yea – 26 Nay

The vote on the bill was anticlimactic; most of the objections to the bill were already stated earlier in the day. The legislators just wanted to go on record on their feelings toward the bill. A number of them said they were saddened to vote against the bill, but they had to without protection for sex segregated facility or without protection for school children. Rep. Hetherington said that one of his objections to the bill was that gender identity and expression was self-identified, that if he felt the he should have been born a native American and called “Little Wolf” would not make him a native American. That earned him the quote of the hearing… John “Little Wolf” Hetherington. The bill passed 27 Yay – 14 Nay.

The debate lasted justover two hours

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