In the upcoming week, Equality Maryland is expecting movement on House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. This bill is a first step in providing critical protections in housing, employment and credit based on one's gender identity or expression.
We're proud of the work that our lead sponsors and the LGBT caucus have put into advocating on behalf of this bill and our transgender community. With their leadership we've had more commitment and co-sponsorship than any bill dealing with gender identity protections have had before. Because of their dedication to this bill, HB 235 is poised to make it out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote this legislative session.
Below the fold you'll find quotes from the lead sponsors and the LGBT caucus on House Bill 235, showing their commitment and leadership in advancing these vital protections this legislative session.
Lead Sponsors to House Bill 235
Lead Sponsor, Del. Pena-Melnyk's Quote: "Today, 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: "Today, 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."
LGBT Caucus supports House Bill 235
Anne Kaiser's Quote: "This bill will provide all Maryland citizens with the legal protections they deserve and it will also help end a lifetime of discrimination for LGBT individuals in Maryland. This bill allows transgender and transsexual individuals many of the same opportunities of growth and access to, housing and employment opportunities that are available to any other Marylander."
Del. Bonnie Cullison's Quote: "In the committee, transgender individuals gave poignant and disturbing stories of discrimination and abuse they have experienced. This is the year to 'listen with our hearts' as one mother said and give these wonderful friends, family, and colleagues protection against further abuses in housing, employment and credit by passing HB 235."
Del. Luke Clippinger's Quote:"Transgender citizens of Maryland have had to suffer discrimination in the realms of employment and housing for far too long. In Baltimore City, we are lucky to have an ordinance that was passed by former Mayor Martin O'Malley in 2002 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. All transgender Marylanders, not just those living in Baltimore City, should have the same protections against discrimination."
Del. Maggie McIntosh's Quote: "Ten years ago when anti-discrimination legislation passed the General Assembly, the transgender community was omitted from anti-discrimination protections in housing, employment, and credit. HB235 must pass to correct the wrong made 10 years ago. I am a strong supporter of HB 235 and will vote for its passage.
Del. Heather Mizeur's Quote:"Our transgender brothers and sisters deserve every protection under the law, and that's why we're standing up and fighting for HB235. Businesses need the very best workers and landlords need the very best tenants - regardless of the employee or renter's gender identity. This bill will be a big step toward the day when transgender Marylanders can live their truth without fear of unemployment, underemployment, or homelessness."
Del. Peter Murphy's Quote: "I will continue to support protecting and advancing civil rights for all Marylanders. Surveys show up to 68% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have experienced discrimination in the workplace. Maryland should band together and say, 'enough'.
It's important to realize that federal housing laws do not protect individuals against discrimination based sexual orientation or gender identity. Maryland needs to join the 12 other states across the country that offers these protections. We have an opportunity to do that this legislative session with HB 235. This bill is a strong effort to move us in that direction."
Del. Mary Washington's Quote: "These protections provided by HB235, would afford some of our most vulnerable members of our society some measure of much needed protections - protections that sometimes can be the difference between employment and poverty and shelter and homelessness. Maryland's laws against discrimination are intended to promote fundamental values underlay our political system - personal liberty, tolerance of diverse backgrounds and points of view, and respect for privacy and individual liberty...this legislation is absolutely needed to make it clear that discrimination is never acceptable.
Senator Rich Madaleno: "Protection against discrimination, including gender identity discrimination, is a basic human right. Our state laws must reflect the values of equality and equal opportunity - values that are central to who we are as Americans."