In the 2010 Maryland legislative session, Equality Maryland worked diligently to advance the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (House Bill 1022, Senate Bill 583). This bill would have prohibited discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations including places like restaurants or department stores.
We were also working to pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (House Bill 808, Senate Bill 582) in 2010. This bill would have allowed two people, regardless of their gender, to marry as long as they were otherwise eligible to be married under Maryland law. It would also guarantee the freedom of religions and religious leaders to perform and honor only those marriages that are consistent with their religious tenets.
While we were disappointed that these bills did not pass, they were reintroduced in the 2011 legislative session as House Bill 235 and Senate Bill 116 respectively. House Bill 235 was recommitted to the Judicial Proceedings Committee in the Senate. Senate Bill 116 passed the Senate but was also recommitted to the JPC by the House. These bills will be reintroduced in 2012.
We were successful in halting a large number of bills aimed at rolling back our rights (HB 90, HB 1079, SB 852, SB 1097) and were thrilled about the opportunities that the Attorney General’s opinion provides.