The Maryland House of Delegates voted 86-52 on Saturday to pass legislation that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders in the area of employment, housing and credit.
According to the report, opponents of the legislation actually made reference to 70's cross-dressing MASH character Max Klinger, played by the late Jamie Farr:The vote came after a 50-minute debate in which delegates supporting the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act urged their colleagues to help end what they called an injustice against fellow citizens whom they said have been denied jobs and housing solely because of their gender identity.
“This is a huge demonstration in support of fairness today,” said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, the state LGBT group that led lobbying efforts to pass the bill.
“We still have work to do,” she said. “We’ve got to get it through the Senate. But we are overjoyed with the outcome today.”
Meneses-Sheets and other advocates for the bill said they were hopeful the measure would clear the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in the next week and receive a favorable vote in the full Senate.
During Saturday’s floor debate over the gender identity bill, opponents, including Del. Joseph Minnick (D-Baltimore County) and Del. Richard Impallaria (R-Baltimore and Harford Counties) raised concerns that the bill would enable men who “cross dress” as women to create disturbances in the workplace or threaten women in public or workplace bathrooms.Every Maryland voter should be appalled at Del. Minnick for equating trans people with sexual predators. Every Maryland voter shares the shame of having bigots representing them in the Maryland House.
“Every woman should be appalled by this legislation,” said Minnick, who told of once encountering a male-to-female transgender person in a public men’s bathroom at the state capital in the 1990s.
“That left a lasting impression on me,” he said. “The way that person was dressed [he] could have very easily gone into the lady’s room and used the lady’s facility. Now I don’t think that’s what you want with this kind of legislation.”
A few of the delegates opposing the bill pointed to the 1970s television program M.A.S.H., which included a character named Maxwell Klinger. They noted the Klinger character dressed in female clothes at a U.S. Army installation in Korea during the Korean War as a ploy to obtain a “Section 8” psychiatric discharge from the military.
Minnick said the gender identity bill could hurt businesses by allowing cross dressing “scammers” like the Klinger character to create problems at the workplace and file a lawsuit if the employer sought to fire the person.
Del. Kirill Reznick (D-Montgomery County), a supporter of the bill, said that while public bathrooms were not covered in the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act, transgender non-discrimination laws that do include public accommodations protections have not created problems — either related to bathrooms or at the workplace.Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk, the author and lead sponsor of the bill, told Gay Agenda that the public accomodations provision was dropped in order to get the bill passed. “And I did so because the political reality is that I could not have gotten the bill out — look at the discussion today — if I had public accommodations in it,” she said. “But it gives you protections.”
“The reality is 12 states have passed broader protections that this bill,” he said. “A hundred and thirty-four jurisdictions — counties and cities across this country — have boarder protections than this bill. And we have not heard of one instance where businesses have had to build a third bathroom, where children or women have been attacked and these protections were used as a defense — not one case in 10 years,” he said.