We’re fortunate that all three of the major Democratic candidates for governor are strong supporters of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, the trans equality legislation. I know many appreciate their united support despite other differences, so I thought I’d share snippets of their testimony.
Today, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will testify before the House Health and Government Operations Committee in support of the bill. He issued a press release stating:
“No Marylander should face discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientaion,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “By passing the Fairness for All Marylanders Act we will take an important step forward for equality and provide Marylanders with the assurance that here, in our State, all citizens will be afforded equal rights and protections under the law.”
Attorney General Doug Gansler advocated for marriage equality long before it become fashionable. Here is a portion of the testimony he submitted to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:
The Constitution’s command to provide “the equal protection of the laws” applies to “any person” within a state’s jurisdiction, regardless of that person’s identity. We deprive our citizens of that equal protection when we allow discrimination against them on the basis of their gender identity. Inequality for any person is inequality for all of us. Gender identity, like race, sex, sexual orientation, and creed, must not be tolerated as a ground for denying any person the opportunity to obtain employment, housing, and public accommodation.
Del. Heather Mizeur is a member of the LGBT Caucus and a longtime advocate for this legislation. As the Washington Blade reported, she advocated strongly in favor before the Senate committee:
Baltimore County and City, Montgomery and Howard Counties – four of our state’s larger jurisdictions have stepped up to provide nearly half of our state’s residents protection from gender identity discrimination.
But protection against discrimination shouldn’t depend on your zip code. We need a statewide law.
And we cannot wait. Real people are suffering real consequences of our inaction.
Fear and prejudice are not acceptable reason for assigning a vulnerable group of Marylanders to a future of discriminatory practices in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
17 states and the District of Columbia have stepped forward to do this. The Chrissy Lee Polis’s in Prince George’s County, Southern, Northern, Western Maryland, and the Eastern Shore are expecting us to do the right thing – to prove to them that Maryland really is the Free State where everyone – EVERYONE – gets protected equally under the law.
There can be no exceptions. And there are no excuses.
The House has passed a version of this bill previously. Now that the blockage in the Senate has cleared, we should “get it done” as Heather put it in her testimony and to me.