Banning discrimination based on gender identity and expression and so-called “ex-gay” conversion therapy to minors are the top priorities for Maryland LGBT advocates during the 2014 legislative session. State Sen. Rich Madaleno will introduce the transgender rights bill in the state Senate and State Del. Luke Clippinger intends to bring the measure to the House of Delegates. The chamber had passed a transgender rights bill back in 2011.
"We didn't want to lose the opportunity to work with our House members," said Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans.
“I am very hopeful, given the way the culture has changed in a progressive direction in Maryland and given the support we now have from the Senate and House leadership, we will get the six votes in the Judicial Proceedings Committee to move the bill,” said Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland.
Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown, whom Equality Maryland endorsed last month, told the Blade in a statement he is “fully committed” to passing the trans rights bill this year.
Evans said both Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, have pledged to testify in support of the measure in Annapolis.
“They will use the connections they have in the General Assembly to help us secure the votes we need,” said Evans. “Having Anthony Brown come and testify and talk about it is going to be instrumental in the legislature.”
State Del. Jon Cardin has introduced a bill that would ban “ex-gay” conversion therapy to minors in Maryland.
The original version of House Bill 91 only includes sexual orientation, but Cardin’s legislative director Josh Greenfield told the Blade on Tuesday it will be amended to include gender identity and expression. Madaleno is also expected to introduce the measure in the Senate.
“There are numerous gay conversion therapy providers as well as organizations like the infamous International Healing Foundation located right here in Maryland advocating for what I consider very harmful conversion therapies,” said Cardin, noting Prince George’s County Public Schools last year stopped using an anti-bullying curriculum that included references to the Bowie-based organization and other “ex-gay” groups. “To me it is incredibly repulsive.”
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