Supporters of a Maryland bill to provide housing, credit and employment protections to transgender people were shocked today when the bill was sent back to committee for reconsideration. Today is the last day of the Maryland legislative session so the action effectively killed the bill. It had already passed the House of Delegates.
In an e-mailed statement Equality Maryland's Executive Director, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, said, "Six Senators who committed to support HB 235 took a walk on justice and fairness today and turned their backs on the most vulnerable members of our community. We are appalled that lawmakers continue to play politics with much needed protections for the transgender community.
"We must not forget all the positive strides we accomplish as a community this year overcoming significant hurdles, including getting this legislation out of the Senate Rules Committee. Supporters of this critical legislation made hundreds of phone calls and sent thousands of emails to their legislators. Countless members of the transgender community shared their very personal stories of discrimination. We are grateful to them for their courage and to every supporter who made their voice heard on this important bill.
"Progress takes time. Today's result was not fair or right, but we will keep up the fight to make the Free State truly free."
Supporters currently don't know why Senators who had committed to voting in favor of the bill ultimately ended up killing the legislation. The Maryland House of Delegates used the same procedural move to kill a marriage equality bill earlier this year, but supporters of that bill urged it be sent back to committee instead of losing a direct floor vote. (img src)