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Maryland enacts transgender rights legislation

Step by step, transgender people are gaining legal protections in the U.S. The latest step forward was taken right here in Maryland when Gov. Martin O’Malley last week signed legislation extending protections for transgender people against discrimination in the workplace or in housing.

The governor gave the pen he signed the bill into law with to Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, a long-time proponent of the rights measure. "(Transgender people) won't get thrown out of their homes, out of their jobs, out of a restaurant, just for being who they are," Madaleno said at the signing ceremony.

However, opponents of the law vow to put it up for a referendum vote this November. Some opponents refer to the measure as the “bathroom bill” because it will enable transgender people to use restrooms for the gender with which they identify rather than the gender with which they were born.

House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga says the law was “poorly crafted” and will enable “a man who sincerely believes in his heart that he is a woman, to have access to the bathroom, changing room or locker room where there are women and little girls.”

As many people know, there are protected classes in the Maryland workplace. This means that employers can’t discriminate against their employees on the basis of disability, age, race, sex, religion, national origin or pregnancy.

Because the filing of a workplace discrimination complaint is time-sensitive, those who have been subject to unlawful discrimination should discuss their legal options in a time manner with an experienced attorney.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "O'Malley signs transgender rights bill," Michael Dresser and Erin Cox, May 15, 2014

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