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Maryland Senate Kills Transgender Protections Bill, Senate Leaders ‘Not Pro-Equality Yet’

The Maryland Senate voted 27–20 this afternoon to send the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (HB 235) back to the Judicial Proceedings Committee, effectively killing the bill. The legislation would have protected transgender Marylanders from discrimination in housing and employment.

Opponents of the bill, including Senate President Thomas “Mike” Miller (D) and chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee Brian Frosh (D), utilized every parliamentary technique at their disposal to prevent passage of the bill, including sending it to the Senate Rules committee and even keeping it off this morning’s legislative schedule. Today’s vote to recommit the bill to committee finally ended the bill’s chances of passing in 2011.

Metro Weekly reports that as many as nine Senators backed out of their committed support of the bill, including Senators Kasemeyer, Klausmeier, McFadden, Middleton, Robey, and Zirkin, all Democrats.

During the hearing held last week by the Judicial Proceedings Committee, opponents of the bill were offered more time than supporters to share their religiously-motivated transphobic testimony.

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Mara Kiesling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, shared via phone that “the Maryland legislature is clearly not as pro-equality as the state of Maryland,” and that even though Senators Miller and Frosh are “not pro-equality yet,” they can expect to see this bill “every session until transgender people have equality in Maryland.”