Maryland Senate OKs bill to stop transgender discrimination

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Senate has passed a bill to prevent discrimination against people who are transgender.

The Senate voted 32-15 on Tuesday for the measure.

It aims to stop discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants.

There were 31 Democrats, including sponsor Sen. Richard Madaleno, who voted for the bill and one Republican. There were 11 Republicans who opposed the bill, and four Democrats.

"It is critical that the Maryland legislature gets to the unfinished business of protecting transgender citizens from discrimination," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.  "No one should ever have to worry about losing their job or accessing safe and affordable housing simply because of who they are. We hope Maryland’s fair-minded lawmakers will act on this critical bill quickly."

According to Equality Maryland, five jurisdictions in Maryland have anti-discrimination laws that include transgender people: Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery Counties, Baltimore City and Hyattsville. Supporters of the act said approving the legislation would put Maryland in line with 17 states and the District of Columbia in providing anti-discrimination protections to transgender people.

“Today is a huge day for transgender rights in Maryland,” said Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland in a statement. “With their vote, 32 Senators stood up to say no one should be denied the opportunity to work for a living, secure housing or eat lunch at a restaurant just because of their gender identity.”

The measure now goes to the House of Delegates. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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