Maryland's anti-trans activists fail to repeal non-discrimination law

Last month, Governor O'Malley of Maryland signed into law the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, which bans discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and public spaces. It also includes an exemption for religious organizations, private clubs, and educational institutions.

Conservative activists, led by Delegate Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington), collected more than 17,500 valid signatures from Marylanders to repeal a new Maryland law giving legal protection to transgender individuals, falling 1,000 short of their first deadline, according to the Washington Post.

Activists focused on one provision that allows transgender individuals to use the restroom facilities aligning with the gender with which they self-identify., led by Parrott, falsely describes the provision as potentially placing non-trans people at risk of harassment, when in actuality, the law helps protect transgender people from the high rates of harassment and violence they face in places of public accommodation such as restrooms.

The law asks for recognition and acceptance, not for elevated rights. Reported by the Baltimore Sun, the legislation, passed by both the Senate and House of Delegates with support from the governor, only applies:

To people who have shown they clearly identify with one gender, and not to a man who might put on a dress to sneak into a women's bathroom. Any illegal acts committed by a person in a bathroom remain illegal.

About the law, Gov. O'Malley said:

We are One Maryland — united in a belief in the dignity of every individual…Marylanders stand on the side of fairness and progress.